Probiotics Could Prevent and Treat Colon Cancer


probioticsWith 135,000 cases being diagnosed every year, colorectal cancer is the third-most common cancer in the U.S. But that number could be reduced through the use of probiotics according to new research published in The American Journal of Pathology.

Researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital studied the effects of probiotics in mice given inflammation and tumor inducing chemicals and found a reduction in both. Mice lacking the enzyme histidine decarboxylase (HDC), which is required to convert histidine to histamine, were used for the study and were given probiotics known to help in the histamine conversion. Those mice were chosen after analysis of data from more than 2,000 colorectal cancer patients showed better survival in those with elevated HDC and histamine expression.

The results of the 15-week study prompted researchers to conclude probiotics could be a preventative or therapeutic strategy for patients prone to inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

"We are on the cusp of harnessing advances in microbiome science to facilitate diagnosis and treatment of human disease," said Dr. James Versalovic. "By simply introducing microbes that provide missing life substances, we can reduce the risk of cancer and supplement diet-based cancer prevention strategies."

Mice were given the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 both before and after the mice received a dose of a colonic carcinogen and an inflammation-inducing chemical. The control group was given a placebo instead of the probiotic.

Mice in the control group had tumors and increased glucose uptake in colon walls, while the probiotic increased the level of HDC and histamine in the colons of the other mice, which had fewer and smaller tumors and significantly less glucose uptake.

Dr. Versalovic said, "Our results suggest a significant role for histamine in the suppression of chronic intestinal inflammation and colorectal tumorigenesis. We have also shown that cells, both microbial and mammalian, can share metabolites or chemical compounds that together promote human health and prevent disease."

Click here to read The American Journal of Pathology report.

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