In recent years there has been growing interest in the contribution of the microbiome to cancer. In particular, there is compelling evidence that particular gut microbes can promote the development of colon cancer and influence the response of many cancer types to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The Jacobs Laboratory is collaborating with UCLA and VA colorectal surgeons and oncologists to study the intestinal microbiome of colon cancer patients undergoing resection and chemotherapy. This involves collection of stool samples before and at various times after surgery for microbiome analysis, followed by correlation of gut bacteria and their metabolites with tumor features, immune response, and recurrence. The initial results indicate that treatment can disrupt the gut microbiome, potentially affecting risk of recurrence. Our objective is to identify microbial biomarkers that can be used to guide treatment decisions for colon cancer patients. In the long-term, we hope to develop novel strategies to prevent colon cancer recurrence by changing the gut microbiome.
The Jacobs Laboratory is also collaborating with investigators at UCLA, the VA, and USC to study the microbiome in pancreatic cancer, lymphoma survivors, and patients receiving immunotherapy (hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate cancer).