Little things can have a big impact.
This is especially true of our gut, home to some ten billion bacteria, about a kilogram in total, already helping with our health.
Now, using mice, a research team at University of North Carolina has made what could be a pioneering development in the field of cancer treatment.
Two specific compounds produced by gut bacteria, so-called metabolites, may provide protection from the side-effects of radiation therapy.
This could limit the damage done to DNA and bone tissue. The next step is to investigate the impact on humans.
Bacteria and their metabolites can be easily and cheaply cultivated and are already present in much of the food we eat.