Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


GM Bacterium Helps Destroy Advanced Tumors in Mice


Generally speaking, we go to great lengths to rid our bodies of foreign bacteria, whether it’s by brushing our teeth, washing our hands or taking antibiotics. But new research suggests that when it comes to treating tumors, we may one day invite the bugs in. According to a study published yesterday in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a bacterium that normally resides in soil, dust and dead flesh quickly destroys large tumors in mice when injected along with chemotherapy drugs.

Current cancer treatments are limited in part by their inability to destroy poorly vascularized areas of tumors: radiation requires oxygen to kill cells and chemotherapy drugs demand a blood system to reach their target. Anaerobic bacteria, on the other hand, actually prefer oxygen-free, or hypoxic, environments. Researchers have thus wondered for some time whether such bacteria might prove useful in combating tumors. Now Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University and his colleagues have shown that they can be. "The idea is to selectively attack these tumors from inside with the bacteria and from the outside with chemotherapy," Vogelstein explains. The team genetically engineered the bacterium Clostridium novyi, producing a toxin-free strain that, when administered with conventional drugs, eliminated nearly half of the advanced tumors in their lab mice within 24 hours. The healthy tissues surrounding the tumors, in contrast, remained intact.

The team’s so-called combination bacteriolytic therapy (COBALT) did have some negative outcomes, however. As many as 45 percent of the mice with the largest tumors died after treatment, presumably because of toxins released by the deteriorating tumor cells. "Any therapy which dramatically shrinks tumors may be subject to this side effect," the authors note. Yet although such tumor lysis is difficult to control in mice, it may be more easily controlled in humans. Still, whether or not COBALT will even work against human tumors at all remains to be seen. Says team member Kenneth Kinzler: "We hope that this research will add a new dimension to cancer treatment but realize that the way tumors respond to treatment in mice can be different than in humans."

Kate Wong | Scientific American
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>