A new paper links specific types of intestinal bacteria in the development of colorectal cancer - in animal models, at least. Finding it in humans is another matter.

But if such a link is ever found, and currently these findings are only exploited by people selling something, it could lead to dietary-based therapeutic interventions which may be able to modify the composition of the gut microbiome and reduce colorectal cancer risk.

Olivia Coleman and Tiago Nunes, Technical University of Munich (Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany), discuss the significance and therapeutic implications of the latest evidence linking the intestinal microbiota to CRC development and progression. In the article entitled "Role of the Microbiota in Colorectal Cancer: Updates on Microbial Associations with CRC and Therapeutic Implications," the authors discuss their belief in the protective effects that probiotics and prebiotics against colorectal cancer through their ability to modulate the gut microbiome and, specifically, to expand the population of lactic acid-producing bacteria.

Will that turn out to be real? It's unclear, but much of colorectal cancer is a mystery and that is why it has been so easily exploited by food activists who make their way into working groups for the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Since the relative and absolute risk are never studied, meta-analyses can only legitimately be used to find a potential hazard for further study, and that is why animal models like mice are really terrible for cancer. One hundred cancers per year get cured in animals. But they are not little people.