Scientists of the Department of Physiology and Genetics of Kemerovo State University completed a three-year cycle of scientific research on the project The Relationship between the Composition of Respiratory Microflora with Genome Activity and Mutagenic Effects in Residents of a Coal-Mining Industrial Region, which received financial support from the Russian Science Foundation in the amount of 18 million rubles.
With the help of modern genetic technologies of next-generation sequencing (NGS), it was possible to study the full composition of bacteria living in healthy human respiratory passages, as well as to evaluate its features in miners suffering from pulmonary fibrosis (anthracosilicosis – coal-miners disease), and in patients with lung cancer. It is considered that the bacteria that live in the human body and make up its microbiome can significantly affect many diseases, including various forms of cancer. In particular, non-pathogenic bacteria are able to influence the host cells during their vital activity, causing mutations in them, provoking their malignant change.
According to the results of this research, for the first time, it was possible to prove a direct relationship between the increased content of sporadic bacteria in the respiratory passages of the surveyed patients with the level of mutations in blood cells. An important find was also the identification of a number of bacteria from the genera Streptococcus, Gemella, and Bacillus. Their content in the respiratory passages microbiome of patients with lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis was significantly increased compared to the indicants of healthy donors.
This discovery is projected to be the groundwork for a genetic testing system. By using this system, it would be possible to determine the probability of cancer in people of high-risk groups (smokers, workers in hazardous industries, people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases). Thus, microbiome biomarkers can serve as an effective instrument for detecting cancer at the earliest stages, which will reduce mortality from this common type of cancer. It should be noted, that the results of the project of geneticists from Kemerovo State University are published in leading foreign journals: Mutation Research / Reviews in Mutation Research, Scientific Reports, Mutagenesis.