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NASA Technology Finds Links Between Breast Cancer And Bacteria

First Posted: Jun 27, 2016 06:31 AM EDT

Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California have reportedly applied the technology used for analyzing bacteria in spacecraft assembly rooms to study microbes that could be linked with breast cancer. The sequencing and analyzing techniques are especially created for planetary protection, so that spacecrafts from the American space agency do not contaminate other worlds. In addition, this is the first time that a study of microorganisms in the human breast ductal fluid is being conducted, that too with the help of planetary protection methods.

The study detects the differences between ductal fluid bacteria found in breast cancer affected women and the bacteria in those who have never had the disease. JPL teamed up with cancer researchers to conduct the research. Furthermore, this is the first time that a link between breast ductal microbiome and breast cancer will be investigated. Incidentally, the milk producing glands are contained in the breast ductal system, and a substance called nipple aspirate fluid is secreted from it naturally.

The findings of the new research will set the base for future study of microbial role in causing or preventing breast cancer, as per reports. In fact, a spate of recent studies suggests that microbes result in 16 percent of malignancies in the world. However, though the research found a link between certain species of bacteria and women who have undergone breast cancer treatment, the cause of the bacterial growth is still not very clear and needs more research, according to NASA.

"We have known for decades that our immune cells and the cells that line our organs' surfaces can react to microbial components," said Dr. Delphine Lee, researching scientist. "These responses can trigger inflammation and immune responses, suggesting that this interaction might help the immune system monitor breast tissue for cancer, or that certain microbes could contribute to increased inflammation that leads to cancer development. There is still so much to explore".

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