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NCI Cancer Center News

UNC mouse study finds clear linkages between inflammation, bacterial communities and cancer

  • Posted: August 17, 2012

A significant disturbance in the human body can profoundly alter the makeup of otherwise stable microbial communities co-existing within it, and changes in the internal ecology known as the human microbiome can result in unexpected and drastic consequences for human health. A report published in the August 16 online edition of the journal Science gives evidence for such a chain reaction. It has long been known that gut inflammation is a risk factor for cancer. The new study suggests that this may be in part because inflammation disturbs gut ecosystems leading to conditions that allow pathogens to invade the gut. These pathogens may damage host cells increasing the risk of the development of colorectal cancer.

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.

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