Oct 11, 2020
Tiny microbes make a huge
difference in our health. These internal ecological systems utilize
communication or signaling to maintain this health, effecting
immune system function. This podcast shares an important discovery
in this communication that influences receptivity to cancer
Listen and learn
Dr. Kathy McCoy is a professor
in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University
of Calgary and the director of the International Microbiome Centre.
Her research is focused on interactions between the microbiome and
immune system and she shares an exciting just-published study that
presents a key finding in cancer treatment.
Specifically, her research asked how gut microbes play a rule in influencing or regulating the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade therapy or cancer immunotherapy. She says that scientists have known for a few years that our microbiome is associated with immunotherapy success or lack thereof, but needed more information to make a difference in treatment.
Here's the big idea behind her
findings: while researchers have known there's a microbial immune
conversation, they now know that it's a three-way conversation
rather than a two-way conversation. In addition to the microbes and
immune system players, metabolites sent out by microbes have a say;
furthermore, this conversation gets enhanced by cancer
More specifically, they found that one of these metabolites, inosine, binds to a receptor present on T-cells and causes a signal transduction cascade that makes that T-cell turn on an anti-tumor response—it makes the cytokines necessary to attack cancer cells. If a patient doesn't have this metabolite, the immunotherapy may not work as well. The hope is researchers can figure out how to encourage this metabolite in patients. Listen in for more details about this study and about its life-changing implications.