Fungi find their way into cancer tumors, but what they’re doing there is a mystery

For a while, scientists thought the trillions of microbes on our bodies lived in landscapes connected to the outside world — our skin, hair, and gut — but research in the last few years has shown that’s not so. When Ravid Straussman, a cancer biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, looked deeper, he and several other research groups around the world found bacteria in the milieu of tumors.

Then, he and other scientists began wondering: if tumors are home to bacteria, then what about another major resident of our microbiome, fungi?  Now, two new papers published in Cell on Thursday, one from Straussman’s lab and collaborators at the University of California San Diego and another from researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Duke University, have found genetic footprints of fungi in tumors across the human body.

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