All posts for the month August, 2014

I just came across this fascinating study today on how adding a particular bacterium (a species of Clostridium) back into the gut microflora of mice rescued the mice from a nut allergy.

Here’s the article summarized from the Science website.

And here is a link to the original article.

Speaking purely anecdotally, my own troubles with negative reactions to food (gluten and dairy proteins) started after a period of time where I was taking a lot of antibiotics. Of course, this may be coincidence, but it would be really interesting to me to find out if there are “healthy” bacteria that are missing from my own gut microbial community. Ideally I could go back in time and sample myself from before I took all those antibiotics! Where’s a time machine when you need one?

I don’t think anyone really knows yet what a truly “healthy” community looks like (though researchers like Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe at the University of Guelph are working on this subject), and of course research like this is just starting to point in the direction of the different roles particular gut bacteria may play in interacting with our gut and immune systems, and maybe other organs of our bodies as well.

Who knows, in twenty years the knowledge that is just coming forward now might revolutionize medicine!

PS: I realized I promised a blog post on how my cancer-related research relates to the tumour-shrinking bacterium reported recently in news outlets, but quite honestly I have been very busy- in part learning more about new research to do with bacteria that are involved in cancer. Some bacteria seem to promote cancer, others fight it- it’s so interesting to me as a microbiologist to try to think of what molecules these bacteria may be producing that result in their differential effects. More on this subject as soon as I get a chance to digest it all.

A recent study using a soil-dwelling species of Clostridium (a bacterium that can grow without oxygen- in fact, requires an oxygen-free environment) has found that injecting this bacterium into tumours in dogs, and even humans, can shrink them! It’s not a “cure” for cancer, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’ll be posting more on this study and how it relates to the work I am doing with Dr. Schiestl  in the coming week.

A big thank you from Larry (below) and myself to all the donors to my recent crowdfunding project (Project: Cancer-Fighting Gut Bacteria).  I’ve placed updated information about the project, as well as a list of donors, on this site’s permanent pages.

Project stickers and keychains were put in the mail for USA residents a little while ago, so hopefully they are reaching their goals. I will hand-deliver stickers and keychains to a few more local acquaintances. So if you have ordered something, this little guy will be appearing in your mailbox shortly, if he hasn’t already arrived!

Please subscribe to RSS feeds for this site, or visit it regularly, for updates on the progress of this project as well as future planned work, and periodic descriptions of current research on the subject of how gut bacteria might affect your body.