Friday, October 13, 2017
Breast Cancer Linked to Bacterial Imbalances
In a newly published study, Cleveland Clinic researchers have uncovered differences in the bacterial composition of breast tissue of healthy women vs. women with breast cancer. The research team has discovered for the first time that healthy breast tissue contains more of the bacterial species Methylobacterium, a finding which could offer a new perspective in the battle against breast cancer.
Bacteria that live in the body, knows as the microbiome, influence many diseases. Most research has been done on the “gut” microbiome, or bacteria in the digestive tract. Researchers have long suspected that a “microbiome” exists within breast tissue and plays a role in breast cancer but it has not yet been characterized. The research team has taken the first step toward understanding the composition of the bacteria in breast cancer by uncovering distinct microbial differences in healthy and cancerous breast tissue.
“To my knowledge, this is the first study to examine both breast tissue and distant sites of the body for bacterial differences in breast cancer,” said co-senior author Craris Eng, M.D., Ph.D. chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and director of the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare. “Our hope is to find a biomarker that would help us diagnose breast cancer quickly and easily. In our wildest dreams, we hope we can use microbiomics right before breast cancer forms and then prevent cancer with probiotics or antibiotics.”
Published online in Oncotarget on Oct. 5, 2017, the study examined the tissues of 78 patients who underwent mastectomy for invasive carcinoma or elective cosmetic breast surgery. In addition, they examined oral rinse and urine to determine the bacterial composition of these distant sites in the body.
In addition to the Methylobacterium finding, the team discovered that cancer patients’ urine samples had increased levels of gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Actinomyces. Further studies are needed to determine the role these organisms may play in breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (after skin cancer) in the United States, where 1 in 8 women will develop the disease in their lifetimes.
Future research will attempt to create nanoparticles (submicroscopic), targeting these pro-cancer bacteria. The nanoparticles will deliver antibiotics directly to the bacterial community in breast cancer.
While this research has great promise, I think that we might well be able to support a healthy microbiome in breast tissue using natural methods as a preventative measure.
I would like to see a study that monitors these breast bacterial levels using Myrrh, Golden Thread, Artemisinin and some of the other herbs that have shown benefit in treating the microbiome of the gut.
Further, I can see a cost effective test of breast bacteria as a screening tool for cancer. If you think about the three things that have the most adverse effects on a healthy gut microbiome – antibiotics, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The first one is overused in general and very likely is a carcinogen. The last two are known carcinogens and radiation is the most common screen tool for breast cancer – the mammogram.
The Bottom Line:
This is research to follow. But don’t look for the kind of studies I advocate to occur here in the United States. China, India, Australia and Germany are all deeply committed to herbal research. Look there for potential breakthroughs.
Source: October 6, 2017 Science Daily