Microbiome and Childhood Leukaemia Link

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Decoding Childhood Leukaemia: Microbiome Insights and Future Prevention

Danielle Gustav

Inside the human body lies a bustling community known as the microbiome, consisting of trillions of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Recognized for its role in gut health, the microbiome plays a crucial part in digestion and immune system regulation. Recent research by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London suggests a potential link between the microbiome and the development of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in children, the most common cancer affecting this age group.
The microbiome begins developing from birth, influenced by genetics, environment, and lifestyle. Its diversity is essential for a robust immune system, helping the body defend against various pathogens. The ICR team previously found evidence that a weakened immune system, combined with a blood cell mutation during early development, could lead to ALL. A recent systematic review funded by Cancer Research UK revealed that children with ALL have less diverse microbiomes than their healthy counterparts, indicating a potential connection between microbiome diversity and the disease.
The lack of diversity in the microbiomes of children with ALL suggests that their immune systems may be less equipped to fight common infections, leading to inflammation that could contribute to the development of ALL. Researchers envision analyzing a child’s microbiome to assess its diversity and, if deficient in certain species, introducing missing ones to increase diversity and potentially prevent the disease. While this goal is ambitious due to the microbiome’s complexity, researchers at ICR are taking steps to understand which aspects of the microbiome enhance the immune system, exploring the potential for preventing ALL and improving treatment outcomes in affected families.

5 COMMENTS

  1. So the lack of diversity in the microbiomes of children with ALL means that their immune systems may be less equipped to fight common infections?

    • They write:”The microbiome begins developing from birth, influenced by genetics, environment, and lifestyle.” so probably you should let your children play with sand and not worry too much about getting infected.

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