Artificial heart patients 311.
(photo credit: Eli Dadon )
The dreaded food poisoning bacterium, Salmonella, is on its way from infamous to famous. In a study published in the journal "Scientific Translational Medicine" last week, a group of Italian researchers reported that Salmonella was effective in killing melanoma cells in mice. This discovery could potentially lead to a future development of similar treatment for humans, treating melanoma and perhaps other types of cancer.
Human immune system cells can recognize certain types of cancer cells
and induce their destruction. Cancer cells often develop different
alterations in their structural characteristics in order to avoid
recognition by the immune system, thereby escaping destruction and
enabling tumor growth and metastases.
In this study melanoma
cells in mice were infected deliberately with Salmonella bacteria.
Consequently, immune system cells were able to control the growth of the
tumor cells infected as well as of distant uninfected tumors. The
researchers showed that the Salmonella bacteria induced a certain
protein that was originally suppressed by the tumor cells. The
reactivation of this protein formed a connection between tumor cells and
immune system cells, which eventually created an immune response
against the tumor cells and control over their growth.
further studies in humans are needed to evaluate the potential of this
discovery, theresults are promising and may be the beginning of a
development of vaccines against melanoma, and perhaps against other
types of cancer as well.
Source: Sci Transl Med 11 August 2010: Vol. 2, Issue 44, p. 44ra57
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