JHaving a healthy gut may be one of the most important factors in the success of cancer treatments, according to a study that found a link between the quality of the gut microbiome and the response to immunotherapy against melanoma, a type very aggressive skin cancer.
According to the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, “Understanding the characteristics of the microbiome may allow clinicians to modify a patient’s microbiome before starting treatment.”
The researchers pooled a large number of people diagnosed with melanoma and gut microbiome samples from five clinical centers in the UK, the Netherlands and Spain. The presence of three types of bacteria in the intestine – Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, Roseburia spp. and Akkermansia muciniphila – was associated with better immune response.
The set of microorganisms that live in the intestine can be modified by simple changes in diet, with the ingestion of probiotics, for example. This change, in turn, alters the action of the microbiome on the immune system.
This study also showed that the microbiome itself is strongly influenced by factors such as the diet followed by the patient, their physical constitution and the use of drugs that inhibit the enzyme H+/K+-ATPase in the stomach. .
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