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Ah, the Irony: Colon Cancer Resistance Found in Traveler's Diarrhea
Put the Imodium away, fly to an exotic location, and please drink the water. A new study--prompted by a manuscript outline on a dinner napkin--links resistance to colon cancer with "travelers' diarrhea" (G.M. Pitari et al., "Bacterial enterotoxins are associated with resistance to colon cancer," Proc Nat Acad Sci, 100:2695-9, March 4, 2003). Although undeveloped countries with poor sanitation have the highest risk of diarrheal disease, they also have the lowest incidence of colorectal cancer.
Researchers found that a heat-stable enterotoxin, secreted from multiple bacteria, binds to the guanyl cyclase C (GC-C) receptor expressed exclusively on the surface of intestinal epithelial cells. "We wanted to elaborate the signaling mechanism that leads from GC-C receptor-ligand interaction to the suppression of proliferation previously...