Some Bacteria Might Fight Cancer

Posted on February 19, 2008  Comments (3)

Cancer and the bacterial connection

today, some scientists think Coley had it right: Germs can teach our bodies how to fight back against tumors. Dr. John Timmerman, a cancer immunotherapy expert at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, says this revolution has produced “the most exciting sets of compounds in cancer immunolog

The studies also imply that our cleaner, infection-free lifestyles may be contributing to the rise in certain cancers over the last 50 years, scientists say, because they make the immune system weaker or less mature. Germs cause disease but may also fortify the body, a notion summed up in a 2006 report by a team of Canadian researchers as “whatever does not kill me makes me stronger.”

Other groups have been experimenting with injections of other types of heat-killed bacteria, including Myobacterium vaccae, a tuberculosis relative. In two studies in January’s European Journal of Cancer, researchers report that these bacteria may help fight certain lung and renal cancers.

The rich interplay of complex systems are often very difficult to grasp simply. I discusses this concept in the post on the excellent book, Parasite Rex.

Related: Killing Germs May Be Hazardous to Your HealthEnergy Efficiency of DigestionNot Evidence of a Declining Trend in Cancer DeathsRaised Without Antibiotics

3 Responses to “Some Bacteria Might Fight Cancer”

  1. Ken
    February 19th, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

    Thanks for this post. There is a good article on Coley’s research here:

    Amazingly, his research on mixed bacterial vaccines dates back to 1888.

  2. Dan
    February 20th, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

    That reminds me of how vaccines work. Vaccines are slightly different but a similar concept. Let your body fight something easy, so that it knows how to protect itself against something difficult.

  3. Gut Bacteria Explored as Medical Treatment – even for Cancer » Curious Cat Science Blog
    March 14th, 2016 @ 10:26 am

    […] The interaction between gut bacteria and human health continues to be a fertile area of medical research. […]

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