Two Cancer Studies Find Bacterial Clue in Colon

October 18, 2011

The New York Times

For years, Dr. Robert A. Holt, a genomics researcher at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, wrestled with a question about colon cancer. Might it be caused, or pushed along, by a bacterial infection?

Cancers of the liver, stomach and cervix have all been linked to microbes, he knew. And if there is one place in the body with a lot of microbes, it is the colon — microbial cells outnumber human cells there by a ratio of at least nine to one.

The new tools of genomic analysis offered an opportunity to look for a connection. What Dr. Holt and another group of researchers, working independently, have found is completely unexpected and puzzling. One particular species of bacterium never particularly prevalent in the colon seems to have a disturbing affinity for colon cancers... Read More

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