By Teresa Conrick
Autism and Cancer. What do they have in common? Follow the research here as it is significant for both.
This new study caught my interest:
Melanoma Meets Microbiome - December 9, 2015
Two groundbreaking studies implicate specific bacterial species in regulating gut immunity and response to immunotherapy in physically distant tumors — an entirely new angle in cancer therapy. The influence of the microbiome on cancer susceptibility and therapy effectiveness has been shown. Furthermore, commensal organisms have critical roles in tuning immunity at epithelial surfaces, suggesting their potential role in regulating immunotherapy response.
Sivan and colleagues compared genetically identical mice obtained from two different mouse facilities that had different gut microbiota. Interestingly, these mice reacted differently to syngeneic implanted mouse melanoma tumors, apparently because of differences in the vigor of their anti-tumor T-cell responses. These differences were eliminated by cohousing and could be reversed by fecal transplantation from the mice with anti-tumor immunity, implicating the gut microbiome. Furthermore, fecal transfer augmented responses to anti–PD-L1 immunotherapy. Following sequencing of the bacteria, they found that Bifidobacterium species were overrepresented in mice with better anti-tumor immunity, and introduction of those species into the other mice produced anti-tumor responses.
The take home message -
1- Genes do NOT seem to be the sole avenue of research in all cancers as these mice had identical genes.
2- It was their MICROBIOME that was the epicenter to cancer DEVELOPMENT.
3- It was their MICROBIOME that was the epicenter to cancer TREATMENT.
4- Bifidobacterium were the good guy bacteria that had anti-tumor qualities.
5- Bifidobacterium placed into other mice produced their ability to fight tumors.
6- Fecal transplantation enabled anti-tumor T-cell responses.
It was four years ago that I was investigating Autism and Cancer and also the role of melanin in Autism (and Melanoma). Now, years later, we can see that it may be the issues of the MICROBIOME that are the connection:
In recent years, scientists have increasingly investigated the link between gut bacteria and cancer.... For this study, the team gave antibiotics to mice that possessed gene mutations known to cause colorectal polyps, which can develop into cancer. The antibiotics were administered to interfere with the gut bacteria of the mice. The researchers found that these mice did not develop polyps, suggesting that gut microbes may be involved in their development ..... Autism is estimated to affect 1 in 68 children in the US. While studies have associated environmental factors - such as pollution - and genetics as potential causes of the disorder, researchers are increasingly looking at the role of gut bacteria in its development.
Interesting to see antibiotics as causing the "role of gut bacteria" to change for the better, preventing polyps.
Microbiota and host form a complex 'super-organism' in which symbiotic relationships confer benefits to the host in many key aspects of life. However, defects in the regulatory circuits of the host that control bacterial sensing and homeostasis, or alterations of the microbiome, through environmental changes (infection, diet or lifestyle), may disturb this symbiotic relationship and promote disease. Increasing evidence indicates a key role for the bacterial microbiota in carcinogenesis.
Again, that study shows that it is an environmental change that they point out with cancer development, though many would call it an assault. Autism has a similar regression. One environmental culprit, witnessed by too many families, is vaccination . Other research shows environmental mercury to increase risk for Autism as well as living near land treated with pesticides.
Recent work at the CII has shown that children with autism and gastrointestinal problems have an altered microbiome. This clue provides new insights into gastrointestinal disturbances that develop in children with autism. However, this merely scratches the surface into understanding the complex role that microbes have in the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We are working to address this challenge by determining how bacteria, fungi and viruses in the microbiome contribute to autism spectrum disorders.
There is also suggestive evidence that inflammation and abnormal immune responses contribute to autism spectrum disorders. However, no one has yet determined the extent to which they do, or what provokes these responses. We have recently embarked upon a project to determine the frequency of abnormal immune responses in autistic children and their mothers as well as the environmental triggers of those responses.
Another plausible basis for the increasing prevalence of autism is the presence in the environment of chemicals that are toxic for the developing brain. These chemicals may be produced by industry or even by the metabolism of these agents by microflora in the intestinal tract.
Again, toxic chemicals are mentioned and yes, they could change the gut microbes which then can make their own toxins, all which then affect the brain. Much research shows this to be true.
The implications also further strengthen the argument for including immunology and infectious disease under the umbrella of environmental health.27 Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of the Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), says the institute’s research is repeatedly uncovering new interactions between the immune system and diseases she says clearly have environmental components, such as autism and breast cancer. “We know there are numerous and complex relationships between the microbiome and our immune system,” Birnbaum says.
Nearly every scientific study performed that has attempted to correlate the microbiome with specific traits or diseases has been successful. In other words studies are finding that our bacteria (or lack thereof) can be linked to or associated with: obesity, malnutrition, heart disease, diabetes, celiac disease, eczema, asthma, multiple sclerosis, colitis, some cancers, and even autism.
What do you notice about that list? One thing, it is incomplete as now each of these diseases has also been connected:
Depression and Anxiety http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223613000088
Eating Disorders http://ubiome.com/pages/eds
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/research/center-infection-and-immunity/chronic-diseases-microbiome
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26629974
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25847918
Breast Cancer http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0083744.
That's a growing list. For years and years,we, parents of sick children diagnosed with the DSM word, AUTISM, have been trying to get the medical world to recognize how ill our children really are. Genes are not the answer and have never been the solution for Autism. As 2015 comes to an end, it should be a better year in 2016 for those on the Autism Spectrum who will benefit from the treatments for the MICROBIOME. Autism is a MEDICAL disease for many.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.