Can E. Coli Cause Cancer?
E. coli - Good Bug, or Bad Bug?
New findings suggest toxin-producing microbes in the gut could lead to cancer, according to research published in Science.
People with colorectal cancer were found to be more likely than healthy people to harbor E. coli containing pks bacteria. “PKS” are in strains of E. coli that contain a set of genes known as "the pks island" that have been implicated in pathways that cause DNA damage. They are found in a common gut bacterium. New research indicates that an ordinarily harmless strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) containing pks often can cause colon cancer when the gut is inflamed.
Researchers have known for decades microbes can cause cancer. Notwithstanding the above, Dr. J. Christopher Anderson, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley wants to remodel and use Escherichia coli (E. coli) to fight cancerous tumors. Dr. Anderson’s project pioneers unchartered territory in the use of therapeutic bacteria. Given this area of study there may be the possibility of E. coli causing colorectal cancer
Dr Barry Campbell, co-author of the research at the University of Liverpool, said: "The research suggests that E. Coli has a much wider involvement in the development of colon cancer than previously thought. It is important to build on these findings to understand why this type of bacteria, containing the pks genes, is present in some people and not others."
Is E. coli a good bug or a bad bug? It depends on the holistic, macro bio environment. As noted in my article: “What is a Human Ecosystem?”
http://dallas93444.hubpages.com/hub/What-is-Human-Ecosystem wherein it was noted the Homeostasis (Balance) of Bugs: the Key to Our Health. A significant disturbance in the human body can profoundly alter the makeup of otherwise stable microbial communities co-existing within it and that changes in the internal ecology known as the human microbiome can result in unexpected and drastic consequences for human health.
Inflammation disturbs gut ecosystems leading to conditions that allow pathogens to invade the gut. These pathogens may damage host cells increasing the risk of the development of colorectal cancer. There appears to be a clear connection between the physiological condition of intestinal inflammation and a subsequent change in microbial communities in the gut.
Christian Jobin, a microbiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, describes this E.coli relationship as, ““They're not exactly your flagship disease-causing bacteria. They wear a different mask. They wear the bad-guy mask now.”