JERUSALEM, June 2 (Xinhua) – Israeli researchers have found that all types of cancer cells are a comfortable haven for bacteria, the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in central Israel reported Tuesday.
This finding, part of a WIS study published in the journal Science, may help predict the potential effectiveness of certain treatments, as a result of understanding the relationship between a cancer cell and its “mini-microbiome.”
It also may point to ways of manipulating those bacteria to enhance the actions of anticancer treatments.
The study, of over 1,000 tumor samples of different human cancers, found bacteria living inside the cells of all cancer types.
Thus, the team described in high resolution the bacteria living in brain, bone, breast, lung, ovary, pancreas, colorectal and melanoma cancers.
They also discovered that different cancer types harbor different bacteria species, as breast cancers had the largest number and diversity of bacteria.
Electron microscopy visualization of these bacteria demonstrated that they prefer to nestle up in a specific location inside the cancer cell, close to the cell nucleus.
The team also reported that bacteria can be found not only in cancer cells, but also in immune cells that reside inside tumors.
“Some of these bacteria could be enhancing the anticancer immune response, while others could be suppressing it. This may be especially relevant to understanding the effectiveness of certain immunotherapies,” the researchers said.
“We hope that by finding out how exactly bacteria fit into the general tumor ecology, we can figure out novel ways of treating cancer,” they concluded.