The use of planetary protection techniques to ensure the NASA spacecraft do not contaminate other worlds , researchers including one of Indian origin, have found a link between bacteria in breast ductal fluid and breast cancer.
The breast ductal system contains the glands that produce milk and naturally secretes a substance called “nipple aspirate fluid.”
For the study, researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena, California, uses the same sequencing and analysis of the methods used for the examination of bacteria in the fitting rooms spacecraft .
“these planetary protection techniques were applied in the first study of microorganisms in the human breast ductal fluid,” said Parag Vaishampayan, biotechnology scientist and planetary protection at JPL.
The researchers found differences between bacteria of the fluid lines found in women who have had breast cancer, and bacteria present in those who do not.
The findings were published in Scientific Reports online.
The research team found that the community of microorganisms in the ductal fluid breast was significantly different between the two groups – 23 healthy women and 25 women who had a history of breast cancer and had undergone treatment.
Then they analyzed with the next generation of genomic sequence, which has also been used for examination of bacteria in installations for NASA spacecraft.
For the study, scientists at NASA have collaborated with researchers in different institutions cancer.
“The collaboration between JPL experts in space technology and medical researchers continue to drive innovative discoveries,” Vaishampayan, who obtained doctorate from the University of Pune, Maharashtra, said.
“This publication represents a success for the Engineering Forum JPL Health Initiative, which focuses on the application of NASA technology for medical needs here on Earth,” JPL Leon Alkalai, who heads the initiative, in a statement.
Although the study found a correlation between different species of bacteria and women who have gone through breast cancer management, the cause of the difference in bacterial population is unclear.
However, the results of new research laid the foundation for further study on microbes may play roles in causing or preventing breast cancer. They agree with recent studies suggesting that microbes contribute to 16 percent or more of malignancies worldwide.