What you need to know:
- Diet rich in fibre has nutrients that keep the microbiota alive.
- Eating fibre-deficient foods for long may distort the microbiota architecture and promote growth of bacteria linked to tumour growth.
Human microbiome, the study of the structure, composition and distribution of human body microorganisms, is a new field in biomedicine. Organs and systems of special study on how the microbiome influences human disease etilogy, treatment and prognosis include the gut, reproductive system, skin and placenta.
Oncologists have demonstrated an association between gut microbiome and stomach cancer, opening an opportunity for targeting gut microbiota in treatment and prevention of cancer.
When the gut microbiota composition is altered, otherwise normal resident gut microorganisms become pathogenic and cause stomach inflammation necessary for cancer initiation, progression and spreading.
Patients with stomach cancer have predominant gut bacteria associated with the condition such as Fusobacterium, Bacteriodie frugalis and Escherichia coli. These species promote cancer development in the gut.
Targeted microbial treatment of cancer now involves use of capsule microbial-rich drugs that restore gut bacteria composition by substantially reducing microbiota associated with cancer.
Treatment of cancer
Research shows use of viruses, bacteriophage, that kill Fusobacterium in colorectal cancer. Another technology involves use of Bdellovibro bacteria that kill Fusobacterium in stomach cancer.
Use of faecal matter transplant, its transfer from donors with healthy gut microbiota, can ameliorate gut-driven inflammation and reduce stomach cancer.
Diet rich in fibre has nutrients that keep the microbiota alive. Eating fibre-deficient foods for long may distort the microbiota architecture and promote growth of bacteria linked to tumour growth.
Unregulated use of over-the-counter antibiotcs kills gut bacteria, distorting the composition of the microbes, which predisposes one to gut diseases.
Kenyan researchers should explore how local diet could be impacting on gut diseases with a view to developing a policy to guide on application of personalised nutrition and use of microbial-based drugs in treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Dr Mutua, an immunologist, is the director, ImmunoBiologic Research/Consultancy. firstname.lastname@example.org.