March 21, 2022

Poop for the Cure: Your Dog’s Gut Bacteria and Cancer | Dr. Stephanie Culler #159

Poop for the Cure: Your Dog’s Gut Bacteria and Cancer | Dr. Stephanie Culler #159

Can your dog’s poop help diagnose and treat cancer? It turns out the answer is yes.

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Dr. Stephanie Culler and the rest of her team have been studying differences in the gut microbiome of healthy people and people with cancer to find biomarkers that can detect or predict cancer development. After all, the gut plays a key role in the immune system

So where do dogs come in? Dogs and humans share 60-80% of their gut microbiome with humans! Because of this combined with dogs’ shorter lifespans, it is much easier and more efficient to study and develop therapeutics for the microbiome in dogs first. So Dr. Culler expanded their research to include both healthy dogs and dogs with cancer. Both humans and dogs will benefit from this research. But she still needs poop samples from more dogs with cancer!

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Persephone Biosciences

Poop for the Cure (contact them to donate dog poop!)

Designing microbiome therapeutics to help cure cancer TEDx talk

About Today’s Guest, Dr. Stephanie Culler:

Stephanie Culler, Ph.D., is the co-founder and CEO of Persephone Biosciences, a business taking a novel approach to improving the efficacy of current cancer therapies and vaccines, leveraging the systemic impact of the gut microbiome on the human immune system. Persephone’s technology platform is based on collecting and analyzing gut microbiota samples from thousands of healthy and diseased patients, then using machine learning in conjunction with systems biology tools to understand the impact of gut microbes on patient prognosis. The results are used to design novel immunotherapies and companion diagnostics for diseases of unmet needs. Dr. Culler is a graduate of the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator and has spoken at TEDx San Diego. Prior to establishing Persephone Biosciences, she was a senior scientist at Genomatica, where she developed and applied synthetic biology tools toward the engineering of microorganisms as biocatalysts for the commercial production of sustainable chemicals. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Prof. Christina Smolke and has over sixteen publications and patents on synthetic biology and microbial based technologies.

Other Links:

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