A kitty poop parasite may be able to treat cancer

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A kitty poop parasite may be able to treat cancer

Toxoplasma gondii is an intestinal parasite that can be transmitted to humans. Individuals can come into contact with it by playing with their cats. Most of us pet owners know that cats wash themselves by licking their fur, but they also attend to their more private areas. While petting their heads and the sides of their faces, we can gather microscopic eggs of the parasite on our fingers. Toxoplasmosis is a zoonosis, which basically means it is a disease that animals can give to humans.

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Up until quite recently, Toxoplasma gondii was considered a threat to human health, particularly to the health of pregnant women. The latter can actually suffer from spontaneous abortions if they get infested. Toxoplasma gondii can also affect the fetus (its normal development).

Mashable published an article on how a group of scientists made a series of tests on mice with various types of cancer, using a modified type of the parasite. “We know biologically this parasite has figured out how to stimulate the exact immune responses you want to fight cancer”, said David J. Bzik, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Dartmouth.

What’s extraordinarily interesting about these tests is that the parasite proved it was capable to treat even aggressive types of the disease, such as melanoma or ovarian cancer.

The immune response could be triggered in such a way that every person receives a unique treatment. In fact, some portions of the parasite could be perfected and adapted in such a way so they fit the exact cancer cells of a particular individual.

This of course does not mean that we can now cease to wash our hands after petting our cats. If we do, we risk of contracting the intestinal type of toxoplasmosis, which, I may add, does not in any way prevent cancer. Instead, it’s been proven to affect the general estate of a human being and to lower the overall immune system.

For more information on the study, check out the original article here.

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