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Bacteria-Causing Gum Disease Invites Oral Cancer Growth

By staff

3/19/2014
S Pharm. 2014;38(3):HS-16.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have found how small fatty acids from two bacteria in gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum, promote the growth of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) related lesions and tumors in the mouth. The discovery, published in the Journal of Virology, may enable saliva testing for the bacteria, which could be treated and monitored for signs of cancer.  

“These new findings provide one of the first looks at how the periodontal bacteria create a unique microenvironment in the oral cavity that contributes to the replication the Kaposi’s sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) and development of KS,” said Fengchun Ye, the study’s lead investigator from the department of biological sciences at Case Western’s School of Dental Medicine.

“The most important thing to come out of this study is that we believe periodontal disease is a risk factor for Kaposi sarcoma tumor in HIV patients,” Ye said.

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