(Arstechnica)A notorious germ best known for getting people rushing to the bathroom may one day have cancer patients headed to clinics for a new treatment instead.
With some genetic tweaking, Salmonella typhimurium transformed from a germ that causes mayhem in people’s intestines to one that can infiltrate deep into the bowels of tumors and spark immune system warfare. In a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, South Korean researchers reported that the weaponized gut bacteria could prevent human cancers from growing and spreading in mice—all with no evidence of harmful side-effects.
The study is just in mice and far more work is needed to test efficacy and safety in humans. But the researchers are encouraged by the data so far. Overall, it seems the trained germs have “excellent anticancer effects in diverse mouse tumor models, suggesting that this strategy could be applied to a wide spectrum of malignancies,” the authors conclude.
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