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 TU Bergakademie Freiberg researches virus inhibitors from the sea
27.03.2020 | Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg

nachricht The Venus flytrap effect: new study shows progress in immune proteins research
27.03.2020 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Junior scientists at the University of Rostock invent a funnel for light

Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.

The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.

Im Focus: Stem Cells and Nerves Interact in Tissue Regeneration and Cancer Progression

Researchers at the University of Zurich show that different stem cell populations are innervated in distinct ways. Innervation may therefore be crucial for proper tissue regeneration. They also demonstrate that cancer stem cells likewise establish contacts with nerves. Targeting tumour innervation could thus lead to new cancer therapies.

Stem cells can generate a variety of specific tissues and are increasingly used for clinical applications such as the replacement of bone or cartilage....

Im Focus: Artificial solid fog material creates pleasant laser light

An international research team led by Kiel University develops an extremely porous material made of "white graphene" for new laser light applications

With a porosity of 99.99 %, it consists practically only of air, making it one of the lightest materials in the world: Aerobornitride is the name of the...

Im Focus: Cross-technology communication in the Internet of Things significantly simplified

Researchers at Graz University of Technology have developed a framework by which wireless devices with different radio technologies will be able to communicate directly with each other.

Whether networked vehicles that warn of traffic jams in real time, household appliances that can be operated remotely, "wearables" that monitor physical...

Im Focus: Peppered with gold

Research team presents novel transmitter for terahertz waves

Terahertz waves are becoming ever more important in science and technology. They enable us to unravel the properties of future materials, test the quality of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

Most significant international Learning Analytics conference will take place – fully online

23.03.2020 | Event News

MOC2020: Fraunhofer IOF organises international micro-optics conference in Jena

03.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer sensors could make breath tests for diabetes possible

27.03.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

TU Bergakademie Freiberg researches virus inhibitors from the sea

27.03.2020 | Life Sciences

The Venus flytrap effect: new study shows progress in immune proteins research

27.03.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>