June 7, 2016

Ecosystem Restoration

Can a black-raspberry drink restore oral microbiomes damaged by smoking and prevent cancers of the mouth?

There is great interest in understanding the role of the microbiome in cancer. Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) are carrying out studies investigating whether smoking-related changes in the oral microbiome raise the risk of disease. 

Currently, four OSUCCC – James researchers, including Purmina Kumar, BDS, MS, PhD, are collaborating to learn whether a food-based approach using a novel black raspberry drink might help prevent oral cancer, with a focus on how the microbiome may play a key role in this relationship. 

The study, titled “Interactive Omics: Black Raspberry Metabolites and the Oral Microbiome in Smokers,” is supported by a five-year, $3.1 million grant (CA188250) from the National Cancer Institute. Read the article in the Spring 2016 issue of Frontiers.

Image above: The oral microbiome of a smoker. Healthy bacteria (green and blue) and pathogenic bacteria (red and orange) reside on the gum epithelium. Three neutrophils (blue) on the surface work to clear the pathogens. A neutrophil within the epithelial (lower right) releases cytokines to draw more immune cells to the site. The resulting chronic inflammation facilitates cancer development in the epithelial cells. 

(Note: cells and bacteria not drawn to scale.)