In a new study, researchers found that probiotic bacteria could control the development and progression of colorectal cancer.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Plymouth and elsewhere.
The team tested a mixture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains for its ability to affect the activity of immune cells (macrophages), in the hope of encouraging anti-tumor responses to colorectal cancer in the gut.
Results from the study showed the probiotic mix partially suppressed the development and growth of tumors in a model of colorectal cancer.
The researchers concluded this may be as a result of the way the LAB mixture changed macrophage immune cell behavior.
According to charity Bowel Cancer UK, colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the country and the second biggest cancer killer, with more than 42,000 people diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.
The charity says 1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.
The team says this study is just a small piece of a very large picture focused on understanding colorectal cancer and the potential development of a therapy to control this disease.
This highlights the need for future research focused on probiotics in targeting macrophage cell responses in the treatment of colorectal cancer of the gut.
It also indicates the potential use of probiotics in the treatment of cancers associated with similar issues, such as oral squamous cell carcinoma in the mouth.
One author of the study is Dr. Andrew Foey from the University.
The study is published in Microorganisms.
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