Researchers at the University of Nottingham, UK, are using a harmless bacteria found in soil as a drug delivery vehicle for oncology.
The team, led by the university’s Nigel Minton, are injecting the spores – Clostridia sporogenes – which thrive in low oxygen environments such as that of a solid tumour, and not rich-in-oxygen healthy tissue.
The bacteria then forms enzymes which are capable of activating the anti cancer treatment, making it perfect for targeted drug release.
Now Minton says the therapy could have applications in breast, brain, and prostate cancer tumors.
He said: “When Clostridia spores are injected into a cancer patient, they will only grow in oxygen-depleted environments, ie the centre of solid tumours.
“This is a totally natural phenomenon, which requires no fundamental alterations and is exquisitely specific. We can exploit this specificity to kill tumour cells but leave healthy tissue unscathed.”
Results will be presented this at the Society for General Microbiology conference at the University of York, this Fall.