The microorganisms in the human body, collectively referred to as the “microbiome,” play a major role in central biological processes in both healthy organisms and in many diseases.
It has been known for several years that there is a relationship between the rate of response to certain types of immunotherapy against tumors and the bacterial composition of the intestinal flora. It has also been shown recently that in many types of tumors there are bacteria that reside within the tumor – the so-called ‘tumor microbiome’.
An international team of researchers has now successfully detected small protein fragments (peptides) from bacteria that are presented to the immune system by brain tumors on the cell surface.
Says the special lecturer, Dr. Marianne Christoph Niedert, Deputy Chief Physician at the Clinic for Neurosurgery at the Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen and one of the leaders of this research project.
Due to the new, unprecedented findings, the findings have been published in the prestigious journal Nature. Alongside Science, Nature is the world’s most respected scientific publication.
The malignant brain tumor examined in this project is called glioblastoma. Glioblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. Despite surgical removal, radiation and chemotherapy, this type of brain tumor inevitably returns, greatly reducing life expectancy in most patients.
“These new findings will help us develop better immunogenic approaches against brain tumors in the future,” says Neidert. “We hope we can greatly improve our patients’ chances with this.”