Hadassah

Hadassah and Harvard Collaborate on Link Between Mouth Bacteria and Colon Cancer

Monday, Aug 22 2016

A collaboration between the Hadassah Medical Organization and Harvard researchers has led to the discovery of a mechanism by which a type of bacteria commonly found in the mouth (called fusobacteria) travels through the bloodstream to reach colorectal tumors and then uses a sugar-binding protein to stick to them, thereby exacerbating the cancer.

How do the bacteria get into the bloodstream? There are all kinds of “micro-traumas” that allow bacteria to get into the capillaries in the mouth--from brushing our teeth to having dental work to biting down on a hard apple. Most of the time, however, a healthy immune system fights them off before they can do any harm.

Co-senior author Gilad Bachrach of the Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Dental Medicine, together with Co-senior author Wendy Garrett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explain that while the Garrett Laboratory previously demonstrated that certain fusobacteria worsen colorectal cancer in animals, “this study is the first to demonstrate how they may get to and stick to developing tumors.”

“Understanding this mechanism is an important step toward fighting colorectal cancer,” the researchers say. “It might inform ways of blocking fusobacteria from homing in on colorectal tumors.” 

Dr. Bachrach cautions, however, that, "based on our findings, it's too early to say whether we can prevent mouth bacteria from traveling through blood to the colon and promoting tumor formation or if some people are more at risk than others." Dr. Garret brings out, however, that “our findings suggest that drugs targeting the same or similar mechanisms of bacterial sugar-binding proteins could potentially prevent these bacteria from exacerbating colorectal cancer.”

The joint study, involving also several physicians from Hadassah’s Department of Surgery and Department of Pathology, was published online in the August 10, 2016 issue of Cell Host & Microbe. The research was supported by the Israel Cancer Research Fund Project, the Israel Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute), and a Hoffman-LaRoche research grant.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Microbes have emerged as key factors that influence the development and progression of the disease, promoting cancer growth and preventing the immune system from battling the cancer.

Using human samples and mouse models to test their hypothesis about fusobacteria, the research team injected the bacteria into two different mouse models: one with precancerous polyps and a second with malignant colorectal tumors. After injecting the fusobacteria into the mice’s tail veins, they found that the fusobacteria became saturated in the colorectal tumors in both scenarios as opposed to in adjacent normal tissue where this did not occur.

In addition, in the examination of liver tissue, into which colon cancer had metastasized, saturation of fusobacteria was also detected, while it was absent in samples taken from tumor-free liver biopsies.

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Wednesday, Feb 22 2017

Hadassah Medical Organization Performs Israel’s First Spina Bifida Fetal Surgery To Lessen Crippling Spinal Damage

History was made at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on Thursday, February 9 when a team of Israeli surgeons successfully operated on a 5-month-old fetus using a new procedure that only three doctors in the world can perform, to alleviate some of the crippling effects of Spina Bifida.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Feb 21 2017

Hadassah Cardiologists Publicize Israel’s Dramatic Decrease in Cardiovascular Death

Prof. Emeritus Mervyn Gotsman and Prof. Israel Gotsman of Hadassah Hospital’s Heart Institute have coauthored an article which appeared in the European Heart Journal, highlighting the fact that “between 1998 and 2012, mortality from cardiovascular disease in Israel has fallen from 162 to 80 per 100,000 residents--a decrease of 50 percent.”

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Feb 21 2017

Ambassadors of Health for Heart Smart Living: A Unique Hadassah Program

Knowing that the workplace is where people spend vast quantities of time, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women launched a unique course to encourage heart healthy living—during the work day.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Feb 21 2017

Hadassah Brings Health Empowerment to East Jerusalem

The increased incidence of diabetes in the Arab community, as well as the 60 percent higher rate of cardiovascular mortality among Arab women led the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women to develop a community-based program to cultivate leadership that embraces and advocates for healthy living which will reduce diabetes in this population.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More