Dangerous cancerous tumors may be better diagnosed and treated using this new approach to diagnosis.
A diagnosis of cancer can be scary. A tumor can be harmful or even just part of the aging process and not be life-threatening at all.
In medicine, a correct diagnosis of cancer can be lifesaving but a bad diagnosis or misdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary tests and procedures that can be harmful while offering no benefit at all.
Screening procedures for many potential problems can save lives if they work. Cologuard for example is a screen that can be done on millions of stool samples to detect those people who need to have a colonoscopy. It is a good exam but a poor screen due to the costs, risks, and the fact you cannot quickly screen people.
Many people have had genetic tests done by companies such as 23 and me although much of this information may be related to risk rather than disease processes.
Scientists are now understanding that the cancer ecosystem is filled with bacteria and fungi. Being able to test for the right microbial DNA in the blood may be the way to diagnose and even treat by attacking cancer’s microbiome as well as the tumor.
Perhaps this is the discovery scientists have been waiting for to come up with effective and reliable treatments for cancers that harm the tumor but not the patient.
Check out the article below from the NY Times
A New Approach to Spotting Tumors: Look for Their Microbes
New research is revealing that cancer is rife with bacteria and fungi — a rich ecosystem that scientists call the tumor microbiome.
By Carl Zimmer
Carl Zimmer is a science columnist. His belly button is home to at least 53 species of bacteria.
Sept. 29, 2022
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Look up an image of a tumor on Google, and you’ll probably end up with a brightly colored cluster of cancer cells on a drab background of healthy tissue. But for Lian Narunsky Haziza, a cancer biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the picture looks very different. A tumor may also contain millions of microbes, representing dozens of species.
“I think this is an ecosystem,” she said. “It means the cancer cells are not alone.”
Scientists have long known that our bodies are home to microbes, but have tended to treat tumors as if they were sterile. In recent years, however, researchers have laid that notion to rest, demonstrating that tumors are rife with microbes.
In 2020, several research teams showed that tumors are home to various blends of bacteria. And on Thursday, two studies published in the journal Cell found that tumors are also home to many species of fungi.