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"Doctors Use Bacteria As Weapon Against Cancer" - Dennis Thompson

  • HealthDay
  • New York, NY
  • (September 30, 2018)

A potentially dangerous bacteria appears to target malignant cells and could provide a new means of fighting cancer, a small, preliminary study reports. The bacteria, Clostridium novyi-NT, can cause gas gangrene and sepsis if infection is allowed to run amok in a wound. Clostridium novyi flourishes in low-oxygen environments. Researchers thought this might make the bacteria a prime candidate for cancer fighting, by keeping the infection focused on the tumor site. The potential for Clostridium novyi-NT to prompt an immune response against cancer is intriguing, said Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, associate director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center at Mount Sinai. "That's where the promise of this type of therapy lies. You would expect that the injected lesion would have some type of response because you're disrupting the tumor cells," Dr. Gnjatic said. "What would be interesting is if this could prime an immune response that would eventually also take care of the non-injected tumors. That's the holy grail of immunotherapy."

- Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Associate Director, The Human Immune Monitoring Center Mount Sinai

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