Scientists have created bacteria that help treat cancer. Researchers call the new strain "Trojan horse", which allows you to get inside the tumor and treat it from the inside.
Bacteria that can fight cancer have been developed at the University of Columbia in New York City. Researchers from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Columbia Engineering and Colvingia University Irving Medical Center announced the creation of a strain that is able to fight a tumor from within the tumor, without causing undesirable consequences. According to the University of Colombia, the current cancer immunotherapy has made a big breakthrough in the treatment of certain types of solid tumors – but it can also cause a large number of side effects. Scientists could solve this problem with the help of non-pathogenic bacteria. Now immunotherapy can be delivered directly to the tumor, reducing its effect on other parts of the body that are not affected by cancer.
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“This means that we will be able to create bacteria to localize tumors, and then stimulate the immune system to search for tumors and metastases that are too small to be detected using visualization or other approaches,” notes Tal Danino.
A team of researchers combined their knowledge in the field of synthetic biology and immunology and created a strain of bacteria capable of growing and multiplying in the necrotic nucleus of tumors. When their number in a neoplasm reaches a critical threshold, non-pathogenic Escherichia coli receives the command to self-destruct. At the same time, the therapeutic agents delivered by the bacteria are released.
The peculiarity of the new bacterial therapy is that it blocks the CD47 protein. It sends a “don't eat me” signal to the immune system, after which it can no longer fight cancer cells. Sreyan Chowdhury, a graduate student at Colvingia University Irving Medical Center, said that the problems are that there are CD47 in other parts of the body. If you act immediately on the entire body, it will lead to significant complications. Therefore, it is imperative that the new therapy allows you to purposefully fight CD47 exclusively inside the tumor. As soon as this protein is blocked, the body's own immune system begins to actively fight cancer cells.
Now researchers continue their laboratory tests. They check the safety of the new treatment method and select the optimal combination of the immunotherapeutic drug and bacteria. Positive test results will allow scientists to move to clinical trials in patients.