18 Jun 2018

Scientists identify bug likely to cause bowel cancer

From Morning Report, 7:41 am on 18 June 2018

A toxic bug may be to blame for bowel cancer, which kills more than 1300 New Zealanders every year. Otago University researchers have identified a toxic form of a common bacteria called Bacteroides fragilis in the gut of almost 80 per cent of people who developed a per-cancerous lesion - a precursor to the disease. Alex Perrottet spoke with the head of the research team, Professor Frank Frizelle, a bowel cancer surgeon - who describes the findings as a "game-changer". Mr Frizelle says this new information could open the door for a vaccine to stop someone from ever getting bowel cancer.