Bacteria in the mouth of man, to help doctors detect cancer

Normal saliva may be key to the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by a new method developed by a team of scientists led by James Farrell of the University of California, says New Scientist. It offers a look at some salivary bacteria.

The researchers specifically compared the bacteria in the saliva of 10 healthy people with samples taken from patients with pancreatic cancer. They found a large difference in the bacterial flora. According to experts, it is not surprising because cancer affects all body systems. In particular, the observed changes in the epithelial cells lining the oral cavity.

In these cells have receptors that accept only certain bacteria. When the bacterium with the correct “key” adhesins approaching, she joins the respective epithelial cells. Beneficial bacteria such as these protect us from pathogens. However, people with cancer, epithelial cells change shape, allowing a greater number of harmful bacteria to settle in the mouth.

Of the hundreds of bacteria that live in the mouth, two species are usually present in very large numbers of healthy people. This is the Neisseria elongata and Streptococcus mitis. And the sick people of their population is significantly reduced. It is this feature allows non-invasive cancer screening.

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