Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Harmless soil-dwelling bacteria successfully kill cancer

Date:
September 5, 2011
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
A bacterial strain that specifically targets tumors could soon be used as a vehicle to deliver drugs in frontline cancer therapy. The strain is expected to be tested in cancer patients in 2013.

Professor Nigel Minton works at the University of Nottingham.
Credit: University of Nottingham

A bacterial strain that specifically targets tumours could soon be used as a vehicle to deliver drugs in frontline cancer therapy. The strain is expected to be tested in cancer patients in 2013, says a scientist at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn Conference at the University of York.

The therapy uses Clostridium sporogenes -- a bacterium that is widespread in the soil. Spores of the bacterium are injected into patients and only grow in solid tumours, where a specific bacterial enzyme is produced. An anti-cancer drug is injected separately into the patient in an inactive 'pro-drug' form. When the pro-drug reaches the site of the tumour, the bacterial enzyme activates the drug, allowing it to destroy only the cells in its vicinity -- the tumour cells.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham and the University of Maastricht have now overcome the hurdles that have so far prevented this therapy from entering clinical trials. They have introduced a gene for a much-improved version of the enzyme into the C. sporogenes DNA. The improved enzyme can now be produced in far greater quantities in the tumour than previous versions, and is more efficient at converting the pro-drug into its active form.

A fundamental requirement for any new cancer therapy is the ability to target cancer cells while excluding healthy cells. Professor Nigel Minton, who is leading the research, explains how this therapy naturally fulfils this need. "Clostridia are an ancient group of bacteria that evolved on the planet before it had an oxygen-rich atmosphere and so they thrive in low oxygen conditions. When Clostridia spores are injected into a cancer patient, they will only grow in oxygen-depleted environments, i.e. the centre of solid tumours. This is a totally natural phenomenon, which requires no fundamental alterations and is exquisitely specific. We can exploit this specificity to kill tumour cells but leave healthy tissue unscathed," he said.

The research may ultimately lead to a simple and safe procedure for curing a wide range of solid tumours. "This therapy will kill all types of tumour cell. The treatment is superior to a surgical procedure, especially for patients at high risk or with difficult tumour locations," explained Professor Minton. "We anticipate that the strain we have developed will be used in a clinical trial in 2013 led by Jan Theys and Philippe Lambin at the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands. A successful outcome could lead to its adoption as a frontline therapy for treating solid tumours. If the approach is successfully combined with more traditional approaches this could increase our chance of winning the battle against cancerous tumours."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Harmless soil-dwelling bacteria successfully kill cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110904215950.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2011, September 5). Harmless soil-dwelling bacteria successfully kill cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110904215950.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Harmless soil-dwelling bacteria successfully kill cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110904215950.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins