‘Harmless’ soil bacteria can destroy tumours



London: Scientists are harnessing a harmless soil bug to kill tumours making it a drug delivery vehicle. The therapy uses Clostridia sporogenes a bug found abundantly in soil. Its spores are injected into patients and only grow in solid tumours, where a specific bacterial enzyme is produced. An anti-cancer drug is injected separately into the patient. After reaching the tumour site, the bacterial enzyme activates the drug, allowing it to destroy only the tumour cells.


University of Nottimgham’s Nigel Minton, who led the research, said, “Clostridia are an ancient group of bacteria that evolved on the planet before it had an oxygen-rich atmosphere and so they thrive in low-oxygen conditions.” When Clostridia spores are injected into a cancer patient, they will only grow in oxygen-deficit environments, i.e. the centre of solid tumours, according to a Nottingham statement.


Researchers  have introduced a gene for an improved version of the enzyme into the Clostridia sporogenes DNA.  It can now be produced in far greater quantities in the tumour than previous versions, and is more efficient at converting the pro-drug into its active form.








Source: The Times of India, September, 03, 2011.

















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