Researchers discover possible colon cancer-causing bacteria — 7 things to know

A study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, discovered two types of bacteria that work cooperatively to trigger colon cancer tumors.

Here's what you should know:

1. Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University researchers examined inherited forms of colon cancer and discovered two bacteria types were present in every patient.

2. Bacteroides fragilis and Escherichia coli have the uncommon ability to bypass the colon's protective layer and reach epithelial cells, where tumors originate.

3. Researchers believe the bacteria can turn cells cancerous.

4. Researchers examined six people with familial adenomatous polyposis. Of 500 bacteria types, B. fragilis and E. coli were the most prevalent.

5. Researchers theorized that E. coli triggers genetic mutations, while B. fragilis produces a cancer-promoting toxin. When used together, the bacteria create a "perfect storm" promoting colon cancer development.

6. Researchers confirmed this through mice. When a mouse colony had both types of bacteria present, they developed a large amount of tumors. When a colony had either one or none of the bacteria, there were few to no tumors.

7. While more research is needed with regard to stopping the bacteria from colonizing in the colon, researchers are optimistic the findings could spur future advancement.

To read more, click here.

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