Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using harmless bacteria to fight cancer

05.04.2016

A study by HZI scientists suggests that probiotic E. coli could be used as a therapeutic agent against cancer

Several bacterial species have pledged promise in fighting tumors. However, most of them are pathogens. In order to use them as a weapon against cancer and other diseases in humans, researchers must find a balance between their therapeutic aggressiveness and safety for the patient.


Probiotic E. coli could be used as a therapeutic agent against cancer.

HZI / Rohde

To overcome this problem, researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) have shifted their focus from pathogenic bacteria to those with a proven safety profile, namely probiotic E. coli.

First tests in mice indicate that the probiotic bacteria were indeed efficiently targeting the tumors without generating a toxic effect. The research has been published in the journal “Oncotarget” and opens the door to a new approach in fighting cancer.

Cancers are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite improving treatments such as chemotherapy the disease is still advancing. According to statistics of the World Health Organisation from 2012 (WHO) the number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70 percent over the next two decades. Thus, there is an urgent need for new therapeutic approaches. One possibility is to use pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella.

‘However, there is one big problem when applying them to human patients’, says Dr Dino Kocijancic, scientist in the department of “Molecular Immunology” at the HZI. ‘We have to modify the bacteria in a way that they do not cause harm. The first clinical trials showed that this is possible but hardly without limiting the therapeutic effects’. In this particular case, the attenuation for safety was too extensive so that the therapeutic power was lost.

To solve this problem the scientists tried an opposing strategy by using probiotic bacteria, which are beneficial rather than harmful to the human host. Kocijancic and his colleagues chose E. coli probiotics which are used by millions of people to treat intestinal disorders. Furthermore, those bacterial strains are already well-studied making it easy to give them new properties and functions.

When testing their approach in tumor bearing mice the researchers found that the E. coli probiotics, notably Symbioflor-2, were very efficient in targeting tumors.

‘This indicates that they are holding a great potential in solid tumor therapy even though their therapeutic potency might be slightly lower than that of Salmonella’, says Kocijancic. ‘However, their superior tumor specificity and the fact that they do not need to be weakened will allow us to use them as bio-vehicles delivering therapeutic molecules into tumors’.

The research indicates that a probiotic therapeutic strain more readily tolerated by an immune compromised cancer patient may allow for systemic application and higher dosing compared to the vastly explored attenuated Salmonella. ’We are sure that this will prove correct in further tests. Thus, our new approach will more readily utilize the advantages of bacteria mediated tumor therapy’, says Dr Siegfried Weiss, head of the research group.

Publication:
Therapy of solid tumors using probiotic Symbioflor-2 – restraints and potential. Dino Kocijancic, Sebastian Felgner, Michael Frahm, Ronja-Melinda Komoll, Aida Iljazovic, Vinay Pawar, Manfred Rohde, Ulrike Heise, Kurt Zimmermann, Florian Gunzer, Juliane Hammer, Katja Crull, Sara Leschner, Siegfried Weiss. Oncotarget; 2016 Mar 10. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.8027.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.helmholtz-hzi.de/en/news_events/news/view/article/complete/using_har... - press release

Susanne Thiele | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

nachricht WPI team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves
23.03.2017 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>