Salmonella Treats Brain Tumors

Posted: Jan 13 2017, 1:06pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Salmonella Treats Brain Tumors
A fluorescent stained image of a tumor marking bacterial nanocarriers in pink, cancer cell nuclei in blue, and human mitochondria (another indicator of tumor cells) in green. CREDIT: Duke University

New research shows that salmonella can treat brain tumors

New research brings hope for brain tumors, states biomedical engineers at Duke University. Glioblastoma a severe form of brain cancer will now be cured. It’s hard to remove the tumor entirely with surgery, and the barrier that separates brain tissues from blood vessels find it difficult to cure disease with medications. Today’s treatment only ensures 15 months life and 10 percent of patients can live up to five years.

Duke research team of scientists struggled for a new treatment method for treating brain tumor. They started studying the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium. After a few trials, the engineers changed the bacterium into tumor seeking elements that create self-destruct system within the tumors. Theteam did tests on rats and found 20 percent survival in rates within 100 days that’s equal to 10 years human –with severe tumor conditions.

Engineers think it’s a big discovery as it’s difficult to treat glioblastoma. As only few can survive so this rate of 20 percent cure is remarkable, said Jonathan Lyon, a PhD student working with Ravi Bellamkonda, Vinik Dean of Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, and his work in laboratory is currently transitioning to Duke from Georgia Tech, where most research is done.

Past studies showed that bacteria presence can stimulate immune system to kill tumor cells, but follow up clinical tests with detoxifying elements of S. typhimurium proved ineffective.

The researchers used intestinal bacteria as cancer-seeking missiles. The researchers Lyon and Bellamkonda, along with co-author Nalini Mehta, observed a detoxified strain of S. typhimurium that had purine deficiency that cause bacteria get food from somewhere else. Tumors are excellent source of purine welcome bacteria move towards them.

The researchers developed genetic tweaks for bacteria to develop two elements named Azurin and p53 that order the cells to kill themselves, but when oxygen is low.

The Duke engineers injected the bacteria in rats with cancer, and saw improvement in 20 percent of rats, giving them life of 100 days that’s equal to 10 years in humans. However, the 80 percent who could not survive did not discouraged engineers. They believe that increased dose of bacteria can protect more patients from brain tumors.

This research got published in the journal Molecular Therapy –Oncolytics.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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