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Gut Bacteria May Predict Risk for Life Threatening Infections after Chemotherapy

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Gut bacteria may predict risk of life-threatening infections following chemotherapy

Gut Bacteria Can Predict Infections

New research done by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Nantes University Hospital in France suggests that the microorganisms in a cancer patient’s gut could predict his or her risk for acquiring life-threatening blood infections after high-dose chemotherapy. The findings were published in a peer-reviewed open access journal, Genome Medicine.

It is no secret that around 20,000 cancer sufferers receive high-dose chemotherapy each year to prepare for bone marrow or stem cell transplants. Usually about 20 to 40 percent develop blood-borne infections following chemotherapy. The sad thing is that about 15-30 percent of those sufferers die as a consequence of these infections.

Microorganisms often enter the bloodstream by way of intestinal erosions because of chemotherapy-caused irritation of the membrane lining the digestive tract. As soon as the infection starts, the sufferers’ immune systems are depleted and are frequently unable to combat off the infectious organism. Usually antibiotics do not work in these infections.

There are currently no right ways to know which patients will get a bloodstream infection. Antibiotic regimens often vary between doctors. In some clinics, sufferers are given antibiotics for the period of their chemotherapy to prevent infections. In other clinics, few sufferers are given preventative antibiotics due to the fact the antibiotics can lead to expanded antibiotic resistance in the sufferers.

Gut Bacteria Study

On this study, the researchers set out to understand how the beginning configuration of the intestinal bacteria before the sufferer starts treatment pertains to the risk of bloodstream infections. They collected stool samples from 28 patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma before the sufferers commenced chemotherapy. The researchers sequenced the bacterial DNA to measure the wellness of the bacterial ecosystem in each sufferer’s gut.

Eleven of the 28 patients had a bloodstream infection following their chemotherapy, however interestingly the researchers have found out that those sufferers may have unique mixtures of gut bacteria than the patients who did not get the infections.

Utilizing computational instruments, the researchers then created an algorithm that may learn which microorganisms are good and which one were unhealthy and then they were able to predict whether or not a new patient will get an infection by around 85 percent accuracy.

According to one of the researchers, “This method worked even better than we expected because we found a consistent difference between the gut bacteria in those who developed infections and those who did not….this method worked even higher than we anticipated when you consider that we located a consistent change between the intestine bacteria in people who developed infections and those who did not.”

He further added, “This research is an early demonstration that we may be able to use the bugs in our gut to predict infections and possibly develop new prognostic models in other diseases…This study is an early demonstration that we may be competent to make use of the bugs in our intestine to foretell infections and very likely strengthen new prognostic models in different illnesses.”

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