Dr. Barbara Szczerba from the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology received the CHF 100,000 Young Investigator Award from Fond'Action to support her research on colon cancer. The award promotes the career and cancer research of young researchers under the age of 40 in Switzerland.
The introduction of cancer therapy focused on gut bacteria is a new concept, which could bring significant benefits to patients who do not respond to currently used drugs. By introducing “good” bacteria” with e.g. Fecal Microbiota Transplantation, the immune system can be stimulated.
Dr. Szczerba believes that manipulating the microbiome, especially with bacteria already present in our bodies, will cause minimal or even no side effects, which can greatly improve the patient’s quality of life.
Microbiome therapy is not only a stand-alone treatment, but could also be used to support existing treatments (e.g. immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy) and improve their outcomes. This could lead to more targeted therapeutic strategies to treat certain cancers more effectively.