Helicobacter pylori and the Development of Gastric Cancer
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My research was inspired by a close friend who has Crohn’s Disease. This autoimmune disorder causes chronic bowel inflammation resulting in irritable bowel disease, diarrhea, and malnutrition. Although there is no cure, current treatment uses antibiotics, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants to alleviate most symptoms. Originally assigned to write a review paper for my microbiology and immunology course, I wanted to research the latest literature in potential groundbreaking treatments for Crohn’s Disease that may lead to developing a cure. Ultimately, I found very little save for the multitude of studies on current treatments. One of the most intriguing studies I found using Goucher’s library database Biological Abstracts related the development of Crohn’s Disease to infection with a particular gram negative stomach bug called Helicobacter pylori. However, despite this correlation to an infectious bacteria, there was no explanation of how or why H. pylori was associated with this autoimmune disorder. Having run into a dead end, I began researching the ways in which H. pylori induces gastric cancer specifically because this virulent method of inducing cancer comprises five percent of the world’s cancer burden. I was amazed at how much research was devoted to this field of study and I was able to access the majority of my research articles for free using Bio One, Biological Abstracts, and PubMed. The few articles I could not immediately access, I was able to receive in a few days through Goucher’s interlibrary loan service. Although I was ultimately unable to achieve my original goal of researching advancements into the treatment of Crohn’s Disease, I explored the potential mechanisms of eradication of gastric cancer and H. pylori, which may reduce the incidence of Crohn’s Disease. Overall, my research method using Goucher’s databases taught me to be patient and to explore alternate mechanisms when the first doesn’t work