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The human organism is not a sterile environment: both skin and internal tissues house a large variety of microorganisms peacefully living with their host, contributing to its health status. This set of microbes (bacteria, fungi, protozoan, and viruses) is called “microbiota” and comprises 100 trillion (billions of billions) bacteria, whose genetic material is called “microbiome”.
The majority of these microbes lives in the gut, where they form the so-called gut microbiota, a community whose genomes – the gut microbiome – encode a number of genes 100-fold greater than human gene number. In total, gut microbiota comprises more than 50 bacteria phyla – in particular anaerobes such as Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria – and more than 15 thousand kinds of bacteria, and weight about 1 kg. The colon (the terminal part of the bowel) is the most densely populated region; here, each gram of the intestinal content comprises 100 billion bacteria.

The idea of microbiota playing a role in human health promotion arises from studies on the function of lactobacilli as vaginal ecosystem gatekeepers and the discovery of the association between fermented milk product consumption and prolonged life. Today, it is known that health is shaped by microbiota robustness, and that its capability to resist and recover from change acts as a shield preventing pathogenic invasions of the skin, mouth, and gut. Moreover, gut microbiota are critical for immune system development and for the establishment of immune tolerance. Among diseases associated with microbiota is cancer. Besides influencing anticancer treatments, microbes living in the organism and on its surfaces can act as cancer drivers or exert a protective effect via several mechanisms. That is why microbiota analysis is a powerful tool in cancer risk interception and monitoring.
MICROBALANCE is the test aimed at analyzing gut and vaginal microbiota composition. It does not provide a diagnosis, but a gut or vaginal microbiota profile that can suggest an increased risk of cancer development, providing an actionable biomarker for cancer prevention.