In Europe, more than 70,000 men die of prostate cancer every year, many times more developing it. How exactly prostate cancer develops is still largely unknown. At least so far. A research team from the University of East Anglia (UEA) managed to establish a connection between aggressive forms of prostate cancer and special bacteria in one study. The researchers hope that the new knowledge gained will pave the way for treatments by treating the special bacteria and thereby slowing or preventing the development of aggressive prostate cancer.
Research leader Colin Cooper, of the UEA School of Medicine in Norwich, said, “We already know of some strong links between infection and cancer.” Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the digestive tract are known to lead to gastric ulcers, which are associated with gastric cancer. Some types of HPV viruses are also suspected to cause cervical cancer.
Bacteria are closely associated with aggressive prostate cancer
“We wanted to see if the bacteria could be linked to the way prostate cancer grows and spreads,” the scientist said. According to the scientists responsible for the study, little is known about what causes some prostate cancers to become more aggressive than others. With the connection of bacteria to prostate cancer, however, “a small part of the puzzle” has now been discovered.
For the research, the researchers worked together with scientists from Norfolk and Norwich University hospitals, the Quadram Institute and other cooperation partners. They analyzed urine or tissue samples from over 600 patients with or without prostate cancer. Researchers succeeded in developing methods that could be used to identify bacteria associated with aggressive prostate cancer. The first author of the research, Rachel Hurst, also a researcher at the UEA Faculty in Norwich, said: ‘To detect the bacteria, we examined roughly the entire genetic makeup of the tissue samples examined. able to detect bacteria “.
During the investigation, the researchers found several types of bacteria associated with aggressive prostate cancer. Some of these are new types of bacteria that have never been found before. Two of these recently discovered bacterial species were named after proponents of the study. “Porphyromonas bobii” and “Varibaculum prostatecancerukia”. The bacteria discovered are “anaerobic” in the sense that they can grow without oxygen. Rachel Hurst said: “When one of these specific anaerobic bacteria was detected in patient samples, it was associated with a higher degree of prostate cancer and faster progression of the disease. However, we still don’t know how it is. humans transmit these bacteria to record whether they are causing cancer or if a poor immune response is allowing the bacteria to grow. “
The research could lead to entirely new therapeutic approaches
However, the research team hopes the results will lead to new treatment options that can slow or prevent the development of aggressive prostate cancer. “Our work could also lay the groundwork for new tests that use bacteria to predict the most effective cancer treatment for any man,” says Hurst. It is important for the future not to attack the beneficial bacteria that support the human organism. According to Daniel Brewer of the UEA School of Medicine in Norwich, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out when to wait and when to start cancer treatment. Being able to target aggressive types of cancer while sparing other unnecessary treatments could drastically change the way prostate cancer is managed.
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Robert Mills, a urology specialist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “This research has shown a possible link between more aggressive prostate cancer and the presence of certain bacteria in the prostate and urine. Whether this is a cause or one effect is unclear and will be investigated further. ” Hayley Luxton, a researcher at the Prostate Cancer UK charity, said: “The discovery is very exciting and has the potential to truly revolutionize the way men are treated.” He further explained: “Currently we have no way to reliably identify aggressive prostate cancer. This research could help ensure that men receive the right treatment. If the team can show that these identified bacteria can not only predict cancer at the aggressive prostate, but they may even cause it may be able to prevent prostate cancer for the first time. It would be a major breakthrough that could save thousands of lives every year. ”
The study “Microbiomes of Urine and the Prostate are Linked to Human Prostate Cancer Risk Groups” was published in the journal “European Urology Oncology” and funded by Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Prostate Cancer UK.
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