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Cancer Microbiology

Cancer Microbiology

Cancer begins when genetic changes interfere with this orderly process. Cells start to grow uncontrollably. These cells may form a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread.
Microbes play important roles in cancer from direct carcinogenic effects to their use in treatment. Cancers caused by microorganisms account for approximately 15% of cancers, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. Unique features of infectious carcinogens include their transmissibility, mutability, and specific immune interactions, which provide challenges and opportunities for cancer prevention and treatment. For these agents, infection control through exposure reduction, antivirals, antibiotics, and vaccines is cancer control. In addition, developing evidence suggests that microorganisms including the human microbiome can indirectly modulate cancer formation and influence the effectiveness and toxicity of cancer treatments. Finally, microorganisms themselves can be used to prevent or treat cancer. The convergence of these factors signals the emergence of a new field, cancer microbiology. Recognition of cancer microbiology will spur research, stimulate cross-disciplinary training, inform drug development, and improve public health.

  • Cancer and Microbes
  • Infection
  • Cancer therapy response
  • Microbial Therapies

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