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The impact of the gut microbiome and environment on the development of colorectal cancer

Alberto Martin

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Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Canada. Although significant efforts have been employed to understand the cause of this disease, the mechanism remains elusive. Drs. Alberto Martin and Catherine O'Brien are leading a team of international recognized researchers to investigate the role of bacteria that reside in the gut in the development of colorectal cancer. The previous and proposed research from this team show that gut bacteria is at the root of colorectal cancer; its manipulation of dietary nutrients such as complex carbohydrates and the subsequent impact on metabolic processes within the gut promotes the development of colorectal cancer in mice and humans that are genetically-predisposed to develop this disease. The research has the capacity to develop diagnostics if a specific bacterial species is identified as the causative agent in colorectal cancer. In addition, the research will lead to the development of preventative protocols for colorectal cancer using alterations in diet or specific antibiotics that displace or out-compete "pathogenic" strains.

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