Chemotherapy: Study Shows Cancer Treatments Affected By Diet And Microbes In The Gut
: Medical and oncology researchers from University Of Virginia in a new study found that what a cancer patient eats can affect the outcome of chemotherapy. The same can be applied to other patients with other chronic conditions and the corresponding medical treatments.
The research paper was published in the journal: Nature Communications.
The researchers found that diet can cause microbes in the gut to trigger changes in the host's response to a chemotherapy drug.
Interestingly the research team found that common components of our daily diets for example, amino acids could either increase or decrease both the effectiveness and toxicity of the drugs used for cancer treatment.
The research findings open an important new avenue of medical research. It could have major implications for predicting the right dose and better controlling the side effects of chemotherapy, the researchers report. The finding also may help explain differences seen in patient responses to chemotherapy that have baffled doctors until now.
Dr Eyleen O'Rourke from the University Of Virginia, School of Medicine's Department of Cell Biology and the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center told Thailand Medical News, "The first time we observed that changing the microbe or adding a single amino acid to the diet could transform an innocuous dose of the drug into a highly toxic one, we couldn't believe our eyes. Understanding, with molecular resolution, what was going on took sieving through hundreds of microbe and host genes. The answer was an astonishingly complex network of interactions between diet, microbe, drug and host."
Physicians and health professionals have long appreciated the importance of nutrition on human health, but the new discovery highlights how what we eat affects not just us, but the microorganisms within us.
Significantly, the changes that diet triggers on the microorganisms can increase the toxicity of a chemotherapeutic drug up to 100-fold, the researchers found using the new lab model they created with roundworms.
Dr Wenfan Ke, a graduate student and lead author of a new scientific paper outlining the findings added, "The same dose of the drug that does nothing on the control diet kills the roundworm if a milligram of the amino acid serine is added to the diet."
It was also observed that different diet and microbe combinations change how the host responds to chemotherapy.
Dr O'Rourke further added, "The data show that single dietary changes can shift the microbe's metabolism and, consequently, change or even revert the host response to a drug.”
In brief, this means that we eat not just for ourselves, but for the more than 1,000 species of microorganisms that live inside each of us, and that how we feed these bugs has a profound effect on our health and the response to medical treatment.
Someday, doctors might have to give pa
tients not just prescriptions, but also detailed dietary guidelines and personally formulated microbe cocktails to help them reach the best outcome.
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