Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cancer Fighting Bacteria?

Apparently so, and toxic bacteria at that! Research published recently in the journal Science Translational Medicine indicates that a normally human toxic bacterium that has been slightly altered can shrink the size of some cancer tumors.  From an article at Futurity:
A bacterium that is naturally toxic to cattle, sheep, and humans can be tweaked to fight difficult-to-treat cancer tumors.

The modified version of Clostridium novyi bacterium produced strong and precisely targeted results in cancers in rats, dogs, and now a human subject, scientists report.  Before injecting spores into tumors in test subjects, researchers removed one of the bacterium’s toxin-producing genes to make it safer for therapeutic use, though it still caused side effects.

“One advantage of using bacteria to treat cancer is that you can modify these bacteria relatively easily, to equip them with other therapeutic agents, or make them less toxic as we have done here,” says Shibin Zhou, associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
There is more of interest in the article which you can access here.  [ht: Glenn Reynolds]