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Gut health may be key to treating solid tumours

Researchers at Alfred Health and Monash University are investigating the link between gut health and the effectiveness and safety of immunotherapies in treating solid tumours.

‘A tumour is comprised of many different types of cells and tissue, and cancer cells are just one piece of the puzzle that researchers can examine,’ explained Dr Miles Andrews, Medical Oncologist at Alfred Health and Research Fellow at Monash University.

‘We’ve known for a long time that many things, including cancers and the drugs we use to treat them, disrupt the balance of immune cells in the human gut, and this has flow-on effects for immunity elsewhere in the body. We’re using that knowledge to break down tumours into different parts, to manipulate immune cells and attack cancer cells in a more precise and targeted way,’ Dr Andrews added.

Using biomarkers to test how cancer genomes, patient microbiomes and treatment outcomes are linked, the study aims to identify microbial interventions with the potential to enhance treatment outcomes for different types of cancers, including melanomas and lung cancers. The results could potentially be applied to a range of other solid tumours in the future.

Gut health may be key to treating solid tumours