Salmonella used to fight cancer

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Scientists at Cancer Research Center (CRC) and University of Missouri (UM) developed a nontoxic strain of Salmonella that penetrates and targets cancer cells. As a result of the study on mice, the scientists reduced the size of tumors as well as the negative side effects that are associated with other cancer treatments.

Salmonella has a unique characteristic that allows it to penetrate cell barriers and replicate inside of its host—in this case, the tumor. Dr. Abraham Eisenstark, who is a professor emeritus at UM and the research director for CRC, explains that Salmonella, which can be used as a “cargo ship,” can allow scientists to learn which cancer medications can attack tumors best.

Dr. Meghan May, who is an associate professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, believes that the study is “a bit more elegant” than were previous studies, because the Salmonella strain is engineered to subsist on the same food source that tumor cells need and, thus, to deprive them of their nourishment, so to speak.

May believes that if the concept of this development, which she categorizes as a biological therapy, works as designed, it drastically would reduce the type of side effects and complications that conventional chemotherapies have.

Even Ira S. Pastor, who is the CEO of Bioquark, which specializes in biologics technology that might compete with the concept, tells Consumers Digest that the concept has potential.