The gut microbiota impacts on the enteric immune system via the enteric nervous system.

In other words, bacteria “direct” the immune system towards a pro or anti-inflammatory expression and this can affect cancer treatment as a microbiome in a state of dysbiosis due to chemotherapy might contain species capable of altering the intestinal barrier functions. These alterations increase the intestinal permeability, cause inflammation in the intestine and favor mucositis, a very severe and frequent side effect suffered by oncological patients.

The microbiota could therefore represent a resource for the development of new therapies for these patients.

We discuss this subject with Nissan Yissachar, professor at the Bar-Ilan University, in Israel.