The intestinal microbiome seems to influence in the functioning of some anti-cancer drugs. But, is science mature to perform this type of clinical trials? In recent decades, scientists have linked the composition of mycrobiota with dozens of diseases ranging from depression to obesity. And now, too, it is associated with cancer: inflammation is a factor that contributes to some tumors and some types of cancer have an infectious origin. But with the explosive growth of a new class of treatments (immunotherapies against cancer), scientists have spent three years analyzing closely how the gut microbiome could interact with this therapy and how to take advantage of these interactions.
In fact, after preliminary findings in mice and humans have revealed that intestinal bacteria can influence responses to such drugs, scientists have begun to try to decipher the mechanisms involved. And researchers are launching a number of clinical trials that will try to test whether the gut microbiome can be manipulated to improve the results of immunotherapy. Some of its advocates say that strategies to shape the microbiome could change the rules of the game in cancer treatment. In this article by ‘Nature¡, Georgia Gugliemil collects the opinion of several specialists who agree on how promising these trials are and the possible role that fecal transplantation can play in the treatment of cancer.