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Bacteria therapy could be effective in killing cancer

Author: Zhang Qing
by Zhang Qing
Posted: Aug 28, 2014

A study, published in Science Translational Medicine, reports that tissue-damaging bacteria have been successfully employed in individualized treatment of tumours in rats, dogs and humans. While final results of the ongoing trials in humans are unknown, scientists say more studies are needed to find out the response to bacteria in patients.

The microbe Clostridium novyi, found in oxygen-poor environments, was modified to remove some of its toxicity and then targeted on oxygen-starved tumor cells. In the experiment of its direct injection into 16 dogs' soft-tissue tumors, 3 showed reduction in the size of tumour by 30%, and 6 showed anti-cancer response.

Additionally, a clinical trial was conducted on one patient with a tumour in the abdomen. The result displayed that tumour reduced significantly. The study has focused on soft tissue tumour as these are usually locally advanced and spread into normal tissue. The bacteria cannot survive in normal tissues and will home in on the oxygen-starved tumour cells.

Bacteria therapy was first tried in rats where it was seen that bacteria avoided healthy cells and attacked the tumour alone. The treatment also improved their survival, with treated rats surviving an average of 33 days after bacterial injection as opposed to 18 days in rats that were not treated.

Bacteria have been used in tumour treatment for decades. Earliest accounts are from an immunotherapy called Coley toxins following cancer remission in patients who contracted serious bacterial infections.

In normal tissue, almost 90% of CpGs in the genome show high levels of cytosine methylation. As DNA methylation is associated with gene expression, we use bioinformatics to analysis the distribution of 5-hmC. We found that 5-hmC is enriched in the gene body of highly expressed genes at all developmental stages and that its occurrence correlates positively with gene expression.

As T-cell development is a good system to explore the relationship of epigenetics modification development regulation. We compare different stages of T-cells, and found that the 5-hmC levels change dynamically during the course of T-cell development and differentiation.

To summary, we have mapped the distribution of 5-hmC, a vital epigenetic modification, in developing and differentiating cells. 5-hmC is a marker for actively transcribed genes and for active enhancers.

About the Author

Numerologist Warda is hooked on OG-L002 fishing, collecting. And lastly her encouragement comes from socializing along with her companions.

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Author: Zhang Qing

Zhang Qing

Member since: Oct 30, 2013
Published articles: 172

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