Editing Gut Bacteria Reduces Colorectal Cancer in Mice with Colitis

Editing Gut Bacteria Reduces Colorectal Cancer in Mice with Colitis
Tweaking the types of bacteria living in the gut, or gut microbiota, can prevent bowel cancer in mice with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a new study has found. By restricting the growth of specific harmful bacteria, intestinal inflammation was reduced, and with that, the incidence of tumors in mouse models of colitis-associated bowel cancer. These proof-of-concept findings could open new ways of preventing cancer in people with IBD. Rather than using antibiotics that kill bacteria arbitrarily, finding strategies to precisely edit gut microbiota may offer effective alternatives. The study, "Editing of the gut microbiota reduces carcinogenesis in mouse models of colitis-associated colorectal cancer," was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. People living with IBD — including Crohn’s disease or colitis — are at greater risk of developing bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer. A recent study shows that for people with disease affecting all or much of the large bowel, about one person in every 100 might be expected to develop cancer after 10 years. This risk increases to five people after more than 20 years. In addition to bowel cancer, prolonged IBD is associated with imbalances (dysbiosis) in the types of bacteria that line the gut, called the gut microbiome. In turn, those imbalances, particularly the proliferation of toxin-producing bacteria, also increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer. "Our intestinal tract is teeming w
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