Breakthrough

Gut bacteria drive growth of stem cells in colon cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Germany. Prof. Dr. med. Sebastian Zeißig, group leader at the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) - Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden and physician at the Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, has now shown a decisive role of gut bacteria in the regulation of intestinal stem cells and the development of colon cancer. This discovery promises new therapies not only for cancer but for promoting regeneration of the intestine, for example after chemotherapy.

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Zeißig, group leader at the DFG Research Center for...
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Zeißig, group leader at the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) - Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden and physician at the Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden.

Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Germany. Prof. Dr. med. Sebastian Zeißig, group leader at the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) - Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden and physician at the Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, has now shown a decisive role of gut bacteria in the regulation of intestinal stem cells and the development of colon cancer. This discovery promises new therapies not only for cancer but for promoting regeneration of the intestine, for example after chemotherapy.

The intestinal surface is a rapidly renewing tissue, whose regeneration is driven by stem cells. Damage of these intestinal stem cells, as observed upon chemotherapy, leads to impaired regeneration of the intestine and severe illness. On the other hand, genetic mutations that further promote the growth of intestinal stem cells are associated with uncontrolled organ regeneration and the development of colon cancer. Tight control of intestinal stem cells is therefore required to allow for regeneration but to prevent cancer.

Sebastian Zeißig’s group has now demonstrated that bacteria within the normal gut microbiota can invade the intestinal tissue and activate an enzyme in stem cells that facilitates stem cell growth and cancer development. This discovery could form the basis of novel therapies for the prevention and treatment of colon cancer. “In the future, bacteria engineered to block these pathways could potentially be used as probiotics which act in local manner in the intestine to inhibit the growth of colon cancer and to perhaps even prevent its development”, says Sebastian Zeißig. Since stem cells are also critical for regeneration in the intestine, therapies that target these pathways may further help to design new drugs that reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other causes of intestinal damage.

With his research group at the CRTD, Zeißig has already started to engineer intestinal bacteria with the goal of influencing regeneration and cancer development in the intestine. Zeißig, who is also a practicing physician at the Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, adds “With its focus on stem cell biology and a close link to clinical medicine, the CRTD indeed offers a unique environment for physician scientists to develop new treatments for regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.”

Scientific publication:
"Epithelial calcineurin in the control of microbiota-dependent intestinal tumor development" (NMED-A75820A); DOI 10.1038/nm.4072

Source: DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD)

25.04.2016

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

Therapy

New way to predict COPD progression

New research has found that a process initiated in white blood cells known as neutrophils may lead to worse outcomes for some patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The discovery…

Photo

Mitochondria research

Colorectal cancer: Mutations in overlooked DNA could have huge impact on survival

DNA errors in the cell’s energy ‘factories’ increases the chances of survival for people with bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, according to a new study. Studying how DNA errors…

Photo

Uprooting cancer

New hydrogel 'reprograms' cancer cells back to cancer stem cells

An innovative hydrogel – called a double network (DN) gel – can rapidly reprogram differentiated cancer cells into cancer stem cells, researchers at Hokkaido University and the National Cancer…

Related products

Creative Biosciences - Colosafe

Creative Biosciences - Colosafe

Creative Biosciences (Guangzhou) Co., Ltd.
FUJIFILM Wako - Autokit CH50 Assay

Clinical Chemistry

FUJIFILM Wako - Autokit CH50 Assay

Wako Chemicals GmbH
Mindray – BC-6200 / 6000 Auto Hematology Analyzer

Blood Cell Couner

Mindray – BC-6200 / 6000 Auto Hematology Analyzer

Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co., Ltd
Sarstedt – Cell Culture Products

Specialties

Sarstedt – Cell Culture Products

SARSTEDT AG & CO. KG
Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

Research Use Only (RUO)

Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

SARSTEDT AG & CO. KG
Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Research Use Only (RUO)

Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Subscribe to Newsletter