New strain of virus could help cure gum disease and prevent cancer

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at La Trobe University in Australia have discovered a virus that attacked a well-known disease-causing bacterium that can not only cause gum disease, but also lead to cancer.

Normally , fusobacteria are part of the normal microflora of the upper respiratory tract, oral cavity, and colon, but some species, such as Fusobacterium nucleatum, or Plaut’s bacillus, are considered opportunistic pathogens.

When the immune system is weakened (for example, as a result of a previous illness or taking certain medications), they can cause necrotic inflammatory processes or even lead to the appearance of a cancerous tumor.

The most well-known consequence of a sharp increase in the number of fusobacteria is inflammation of the gums, or periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss or damage to the entire jawbone.

In addition, Fusobacterium nucleatum living in the oral cavity can provoke the growth and spread of cancerous tumors in the large intestine or mammary gland.

With the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, conventional methods of fighting Fusobacteria may not be effective, and scientists are looking for new ways to curb the growth of these microorganisms.

Now, it seems, they have identified a new type of virus – a “bacteria hunter”, or bacteriophage , which is capable of purposefully destroying Fusobacteria.

The virus was discovered back in 2019, but it took two years for its uniqueness to be officially recognized by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses, which named it Latrobevirus, after La Trobe University in Australia, whose scientists first managed to isolate it.

New strain of virus could help cure gum disease and prevent cancer 2
Fusobacteria in liquid culture are seemingly harmless rod-shaped microorganisms that can cause a lot of problems to a person

The discovery of a specialist virus that can eliminate the “bad” bacteria and not hurt the “good” ones will make it possible to treat bacterial infections more accurately and accurately, and not “shoot an ant with a shotgun.”

Perhaps in the near future, dysbacteriosis and other unpleasant consequences of antibiotic treatment will become a thing of the past, and tiny bacteriophages will stand guard over our health.

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