Stomach bug treatment for cancer
Recent research has unveiled a possible way for treating stomach cancer. It has been linked with a common bug in the stomach known as "Helicobacter pylori". The researchers said that this bacterium proved to be the cause of stomach cancer.
In a study of 550 people who had stomach cancer surgery, antibiotics which killed the bug cut the risk of a second cancer developing by two-thirds.
There will now be a trial of 56,000 British people to see if killing the bacterium stops the cancer developing.
H. pylori lives in the stomach, and accounts for up to 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers.
It was famously linked with stomach ulcers by two Australian researchers - one of whom deliberately infected himself to prove the theory - who were awarded the Nobel prize for their discovery in 2005.
The World Health Organisation also classes the bacterium as a leading cause of stomach cancer.
By eradicating this common bug, research suggests that the risk of developing cancer could be reduced. Anyhow, further studies are being conducted to see if this treatment is effective.
What is Helicobacter pylori?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that causes chronic inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach (gastritis) in humans. This bacterium also is the most common cause of ulcers worldwide. H. pylori infection is most likely acquired by ingesting contaminated food and water and through person to person contact. In the United States, 30% of the adult population is infected. (50% of infected persons are infected by the age of 60.) The infection is more common in crowded living conditions with poor sanitation. In countries with poor sanitation, 90% of the adult population can be infected. Infected individuals usually carry the infection indefinitely unless they are treated with medications to eradicate the bacterium. One out of every six patients with H. pylori infection will develop ulcers of the duodenum or stomach. H. pylori also is associated with stomach cancer and a rare type of lymphocytic tumor of the stomach called MALT lymphoma.