Scientists find surprising link between oral health and pancreatic cancer

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In an innovative study led by Professor Gabriel Nussbaum at the Institute of Biomedical and Oral Research of Hebrew University-Hadassah Faculty of Dental Medicine, groundbreaking findings have emerged on the relationship between oral health and pancreatic cancer.

The research, published in the journal Gut, uncovers how a specific oral bacterium, known for causing gum disease, may play a role in accelerating pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive types of cancer.

This study sheds light on the connection between PDAC and the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, commonly associated with gum disease, opening new avenues for early detection and prevention of the cancer.

Professor Nussbaum and his team used genetically engineered mice predisposed to PDAC to trace how P. gingivalis moves from the oral cavity to the pancreas.

They introduced the bacterium into the gums of these mice and observed its migration to the pancreas, where it significantly altered the pancreatic microbial environment. This alteration hastened the transition from pre-cancerous states to full-blown pancreatic cancer in these mice.

One of the key discoveries was that a specific genetic mutation in the mice seemed to improve the survival chances of P. gingivalis within pancreatic cells, aiding the transformation of these cells into cancerous ones.

This finding provides crucial insight into how pancreatic cancer develops and suggests that the bacterium’s survival mechanism is intricately linked to genetic factors.

This study highlights the critical importance of maintaining oral health, not only for its direct benefits but also for its role in potentially mitigating risks associated with serious illnesses like pancreatic cancer.

The connection between gum disease and increased pancreatic cancer risk points to possible preventive strategies that could target the mechanisms allowing P. gingivalis to thrive in the body.

Professor Nussbaum emphasizes that this research does more than just link oral bacteria with a higher risk of cancer; it compels us to reevaluate the broader implications of oral health on overall physical health and disease development.

The team’s investigation into the cellular interactions between P. gingivalis and pancreatic cells lays the groundwork for developing new strategies that could reduce the risk or improve the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

This could lead to more effective early detection techniques and better patient outcomes.

The research not only enhances our understanding of the complex relationship between our microbiome and cancer development but also underscores the potential of leveraging detailed insights into bacterial behavior and genetics in combating one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

With ongoing advancements in this field, there is hope for new, more effective methods to emerge for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of pancreatic cancer, potentially transforming the future of cancer care and patient survival.

For those interested in the full details of this study, the findings are available in the journal Gut.

This research is just one part of the broader effort to understand how better cancer prevention and treatment strategies can be developed from our understanding of the body’s microbial and genetic interactions.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about a new method to treat cancer effectively, and this low-dose, four-drug combo may block cancer spread.

For more information about cancer prevention, please see recent studies about nutrient in fish that can be a poison for cancer, and results showing this daily vitamin is critical to cancer prevention.

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