How gut health may affect pancreatic cancer outcomes

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Pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease to treat, with only 9% of patients surviving five years.

Scientists have been searching for genetic differences that may explain why some patients survive long-term while others do not, but so far, they have been unsuccessful.

Now, researchers are looking at the gut microbiome as a possible factor.

The gut microbiome is the collection of microbes that live on or in the human body.

Jordan Kharofa, a physician-researcher and associate professor in the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology, said that little is known about the microbiome of long-term pancreatic cancer survivors.

However, emerging science suggests that pancreatic cancer survivors have a robust immune response in their tumors, and data suggests that the gut microbiome can influence immune response.

Kharofa and his colleagues recently published findings in the journal Cancer.

They found several enriched species associated with enhanced tumor immune response in the microbiomes of long-term pancreatic cancer survivors.

The research team analyzed microbiome data from pancreatic cancer survivors and a control group of pancreatic cancer patients.

They found long-term survivors’ microbiomes had increased levels of several specific bacterial species, including Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.

These species may help to promote an immune response to pancreas cancer, but this has not yet been proven.

It is still unknown exactly how or if these bacteria directly contribute to patients’ long-term survival.

But the species have been previously associated with improved response to immunotherapy for patients with metastatic melanoma or skin cancer.

There is a growing understanding that the microbiome is a part of the normal immune response, and the importance of the microbiome in response to immunotherapy drugs in melanoma and other cancer types is well established.

For the first time, researchers are seeing similar species enriched in patients cured of pancreas cancer.

They are excited to explore this further and to evaluate if modulating the microbiome can be a therapeutic avenue for these patients.

While these bacterial species have not been linked to any specific diet, lifestyle, or genetic makeup that would give insight into how to naturally elevate levels in the microbiome, some researchers have begun testing fecal transplants using stool from long-term survivors.

The Cancer Center team is in the early phase of exploring microbiome modulation through the oral administration of bacterial species.

How to prevent pancreatic cancer

There are some ways to reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, although it is not always possible to prevent it completely. Here are some steps that can help:

Quit smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for pancreatic cancer. If you are a smoker, quitting can reduce your risk.

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Avoiding processed and red meats may also be beneficial.

Limit alcohol intake: Drinking alcohol in excess increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Manage diabetes: People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Managing diabetes through diet and exercise or medication can help reduce the risk.

Get screened if at high risk: People with a family history of pancreatic cancer or certain genetic mutations may be at a higher risk of developing the disease. These individuals may benefit from screening tests to detect any signs of pancreatic cancer early.

It is important to note that while these steps may help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, they are not foolproof and do not guarantee prevention.

It is also crucial to talk to a healthcare provider about any concerns or questions regarding pancreatic cancer prevention.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about how to reduce pancreatic cancer spread by nearly 90%, and green tea could help reduce death risk in type 2 diabetes

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies about new way to increase the longevity of cancer survivors, and results showing vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.

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