Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology


Biology and Environmental Sciences


Christina Zito, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yanjiao Zhou, M.D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anna Kloc, Ph.D.


Colon cancer, Bacterial metabolites, Microbiome, Bacterial supernatant


Culture Media, Conditioned, Colonic Neoplasms, Microbiota, Immunotherapy, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron


Colon (Anatomy)--Cancer, Cancer cells--Proliferation, Cancer cells--Growth, Cancer invasiveness, Metabolites, Cancer--Immunotherapy,


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States with colorectal cancer (CRC) being the third most common type. Available treatments include a combination of surgery and chemotherapy but have debilitating side effects. These also have limited effectiveness in some cases, creating the need for additional treatment options, or supplementary treatments to increase their effectiveness. This is leading scientists to consider the microbiome to fix this shortcoming. Current research is focusing on the microbiome and its interactions with certain diseases, which could lead to pro- or prebiotic therapies. This work aims to establish specific bacterial species can inhibit tumor cell growth and function. Conditioned media with a bacterial supernatant was added to cancerous and non-cancerous cells and their effect on the cell growth, proliferation, and invasiveness was assessed. It was determined that Lactobacillus intestinalis, Bacteroides uniformis, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, and Prevotella copri all show potential in reducing cancer cell growth. This work demonstrates the potential to significantly enhance current immunotherapies and/or replace chemotherapies as well as aid in the understanding of the role of the microbiome in cancer.