Contributed by Nguyet Kong
In a recent PLOS paper, researchers from Texas A&M found a bacterium, Streptococcus gallolyticus might lead to colon cancer by assisting with tumor growth that might cause more cancer-related deaths. Streptococcus has been known that there is an association with cancer, but little is known about Streptococcus role in that association. Dr. Yi Xu research group studied Streptococcus in cell culture, animal model and tissues from human tumors. The research shows that the methods complement each other. The cell culture model shows that in presence of bacteria, it promotes proliferation in the cancer cells, but the cell proliferation depends on the growth phage of Streptococcus when in contact with the cancer cells. Also, the cell culture work shows a production of Beta-catenin following the present of Streptococcus, so this might be showing that the bacteria pathway is causing cancer. In the animal models, Streptococcus develop more tumors have more beta-catenin and other sign of cancer. In the tissue study from human patients, they found most were infected with Streptococcus, which was unknown before. These results show that a tumor role of Streptococcus is involved specific bacteria and host factors and have important clinical implications.