Draft post cleanup #4: Gut microbes and cancer

Yet another post in my “draft blog post cleanup” series.  Here is #4:

Interesting article in the Scientist August 1, 2011:
Sharing the Bounty | The Scientist by Michelle Rooks and Wendy Garrett.

It is based on an article from the journal F1000 reports by the same authors.

The article in essence reviews other studies that suggest a possible link between microbes in one’s gut and the risk of development of certain cancers.  It is worth a look.

See abstract below:


Gut microbes are essential components of the human organism—helping us metabolize food into energy, produce micronutrients, and shape our immune systems. Having a particular pattern of gut microbes is also increasingly being linked to medical conditions including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes. Recent studies now indicate that our resident intestinal bacteria may also play a critical role in determining one’s risk of developing cancer, ranging from protection against cancer to promoting its initiation and progression. Gut bacteria are greatly influenced by diet and in this review we explore evidence that they may be the missing piece that explains how dietary intake influences cancer risk, and discuss possible prevention and treatment strategies.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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