The possibility of giving microbes in the future (whether bacteria, viruses, or fungi) to treat cancer is amazing. Of course big pharma is pursuing this line of research, which is called immunotherapy (stimulating the body's ability to fight tumors). The Bloomberg Business article discusses a number of big pharma companies entering the field and their main focus. The study in the journal Science finding that giving common beneficial bacteria (Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium longum) to mice to slow down melanoma tumor growth is a first step. The researchers themselves said that the 2 common beneficial bacteria species exhibited anti-tumor activity in the mice and was as effective as an immunotherapy in controlling the growth of skin cancer. But note that the bacteria needed to be live. Stay tuned....
From Bloomberg News: How Gut Bacteria Are Shaking Up Cancer Research
Top scientists at Roche Holding AG and AstraZeneca Plc are sizing up potential allies in the fight against cancer: the trillions of bacteria that live in the human body. "Five years ago, if you had asked me about bacteria in your gut playing an important role in your systemic immune response, I probably would have laughed it off," Daniel Chen, head of cancer immunotherapy research at Roche’s Genentech division, said in a phone interview. "Most of us immunologists now believe that there really is an important interaction there."
Two recent studies published in the journal Science have intrigued Chen and others who are developing medicines called immunotherapies that stimulate the body’s ability to fight tumors.In November, University of Chicago researchers wrote that giving mice Bifidobacterium, which normally resides in the gastrointestinal tract, was as effective as an immunotherapy in controlling the growth of skin cancer. Combining the two practically eliminated tumor growth. In the second study, scientists in France found that some bacterial species activated a response to immunotherapy, which didn’t occur without the microbes. ...continue reading "Research Using Bacteria to Treat Cancer"