The big challenge in “fighting” cancer is to kill the invasive cancer cell, but spare the normal body cell. Scientists are continuously looking for strategies to selectively kill the bad guys, while preserving the normal cells.
Sombrero touting bacteria are able to provide protection from the radioactive fallout in the gut, reducing the devastating fallout, typical of radiation therapy.
Radiation triggers cell suicide
Exposing gut cells to radiation triggers an extensive inflammatory reaction, which culminates in the self-destruct programme being initiated, which ends in cell suicide, known as apoptosis.
When radiation therapy is used to treat abdominal cancers, this programmed cell death is able to obliterate the cancer, but it has devastating effects on the thin layer of cells which separate the gut contents from the body per se.
Radiation induced breaks in this critical layer, cause havoc as the gut residents are able to slip into the body, where they can cause havoc as they multiply in places they do not belong. Gut damage also causes horrific GIT upsets, which can put a halt on or limit the cancer fighting therapy.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG jams the radiation
Research from Washington University found that loading the gut of mice with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG or LGG for short, prior to radiation therapy, is able to soften the blow.
Being able to minimize the extent of gut damage provides significant therapeutic advantages. Less gut damage allows physicians to use higher doses of radiation, higher doses of radiation mean that more cancer cells are killed, which ends up improving the odds of treatment success.
You need to put up the shield before radiation
The concept of using bacteria to shore up gut defences is not new. Probiotics, a fancy word for good bacteria, are often prescribed for gut troubles. But the studies from Washington University suggest that waiting until after radiation treatment is too late.
The bacteria need to be physically present when the radiation strikes. The physical presence of the bacteria was enough to shield the vital layer of cells from radiation triggered apoptosis. The research team was not able to pin point the radio-protective factor(s), but their studies suggest that the bacteria are blocking an inflammatory pathway (COX-2).
A sombrero hat protects against the ravages of the sun’s radiation, sombrero wearing bacteria are capable of protecting the gut from the ravages of radiation therapy.
Hopefully your gut is not facing an onslaught of radiation therapy, but it regularly faces some hazardous chemicals. Cultivate your microflora and make sure you’ve got some amigos shielding your gut with their big sombreros.Lactobacillus probiotic protects intestinal epithelium from radiation injury in a TLR-2/cyclo-oxygenase-2-dependent manner. Gut (2012) M. A. Ciorba, T. E. Riehl, M. S. Rao, C. Moon, X. Ee, G. M. Nava, M. R. Walker, J. M. Marinshaw, T. S. Stappenbeck, W. F. Stenson.
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