French researchers have determined how the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide works with gut bacteria to boost the immune system's ability to target cancer.
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The study, published in the journal Science
and reported by Medical News Today
notes that the mix of microbe species in the gut varies from person to person, and that the presence or absence of one or more types may have an effect on whether we develop certain diseases, such as cancer, or are able to withstand them.
These findings surprised the French researchers from the Institut Gustave Roussy, Inserm, Institut Pasteur, and the French National Agronomic Research Institute who made the discovery.
More than 100,000 billion bacteria live in the human gut and collectively behave like an organ. They are crucial to health. Not only do they help to digest and break down food into essential nutrients to be absorbed and metabolized in the body, they also eliminate potentially toxic substances and defend against pathogens.
The French researchers found that cyclophosphamide's effect depends on its ability to stimulate certain gut bacteria to move into the bloodstream and lymph nodes, where they trigger new immune defenses that boost the body's ability to fight tumors.
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