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Benefits of bacteria examined by cancer researchers


Cancer researchers are looking into the insides of cancer patients and healthy people, checking out their intestinal bacteria. More and more research says there is good bacteria and bad bacteria and the bad bacteria is associated with cancer. The good bacteria is associated with good results from cancer treatment.

"You can locate, identify, and it seems that they do correlate with an increasing risk of development of certain cancers," said Dr. Steven Nurkin, associate professor of oncology in the Surgical Oncology Department at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Cancer.

"So, if we can alter that with healthy bacteria, using healthy 'feces' that we may be able to change somebody's risk."

Nurkin says the good bacteria is potentially useful in helping recovery from colon cancer, his specialty area.

"What we're looking to find these days, how we can alter the microbiome and the bacteria within our gut. Not just, once again, to possibly to reduce the risk of developing cancer but also then potentially how we manage and treat and then prevent even recurrence," said Nurkin, who notes the cutting-edge nature of the research.

He says it's not as simple as going to the store and buying probiotics. Taking them isn't something research yet proves or disproves.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.