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
New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia
New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences