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There could be a surprising link between how people respond to a new cancer treatment and their microbiome

Cancer immunotherapy — treatments that harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer — has been gaining traction in recent years as a new approach to treating the disease.

But one of its major drawbacks is its variability: For some cancer patients, the drugs have led to remarkable remissions with few side effects. Others have tried them only to find little benefit and a lot of discomfort.

[…] There’s a good reason why there appears to be a link between the bacteria found in people’s guts and their responses to drugs that act on the immune system, Fred Ramsdell, vice president of research at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, told Business Insider. The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy funded the study, along with the Melanoma Research Alliance and MD Anderson’s Moon Shot program.

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