Bug­ging out

Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

In what re­searchers are de­scrib­ing as a “gamechanger”, a study from the Univer­sity of Otago may have iden­ti­fied a type of bac­te­ria that may cause bowel can­cer. In most peo­ple, Bac­teroides frag­ilis helps with di­ges­tion and the gen­eral health of our colon, but in some peo­ple it pro­duces a

toxin that dis­rupts the cells that line the gut, which can trig­ger the start of can­cer. Re­searchers tracked the progress of 150 peo­ple who’d un­der­gone

a colonoscopy, and ge­net­i­cally an­a­lysed sam­ples of the bowel taken dur­ing the pro­ce­dure to see if the bac­te­ria was present. Be­tween 12 and 15 years af­ter the ini­tial colonoscopy, al­most 80 per cent of pa­tients with the toxic bac­te­ria in their gut had de­vel­oped low-grade dys­pla­sia, a type of pre-can­cer. Pro­fes­sor Frank Frizelle, who led

the re­search team, says with fur­ther re­search, the find­ings could be used to screen peo­ple with the bug for bowel can­cer, and in time, it’s hoped it could lead to a vac­cine.

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