The Human Gut Microbiome as a Screening Tool for Colorectal Cancer

Recent studies have suggested that the gut microbiome may be an important factor in the development of colorectal cancer. Abnormalities in the gut microbiome have been reported in patients with colorectal cancer; however, this microbial community has not been explored as a potential screen for early-stage disease. We characterized the gut microbiome in patients from three clinical groups representing the stages of colorectal cancer development: healthy, adenoma, and carcinoma. Analysis of the gut microbiome from stool samples revealed both an enrichment and depletion of several bacterial populations associated with adenomas and carcinomas.

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Conducting a Microbiome Study

Human microbiome research is an actively developing area of inquiry, with ramifications for our lifestyles, our interactions with microbes, and how we treat disease.  Advances depend on carefully executed, controlled, and reproducible studies.  Here, we provide a Primer for researchers from diverse disciplines interested in conducting microbiome research. We discuss factors to be considered in the design, execution, and data analysis of microbiome studies.  These recommendations should help researchers to enter and contribute to this rapidly developing field.

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CDC: Action needed now to halt spread of deadly bacteria

A family of bacteria has become increasingly resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, and more hospitalized patients are getting lethal infections that, in some cases, are impossible to cure. The findings, published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs report, are a call to action for the entire health care community to work urgently – individually, regionally and nationally – to protect patients. During just the first half of 2012, almost 200 hospitals and long-term acute care facilities treated at least one patient infected with these bacteria.

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