Salmonella offers prostate cancer ‘breakthrough’
A new technique which shrinks cancerous cells by applying a harmless strain of salmonella bacteria could provide a boost to prostate cancer patients.
The process, which only affects tumours and steers clear of healthy tissues, has been developed by experts at Swansea University’s School of Medicine.
According to the researchers, those with prostate cancer might only need a single dose of treatment as a result of the new breakthrough.
Treatments for other types of cancer could also be impacted by the potential new process, the team suggests.
Creating better treatments
In an effort to improve prostate cancer treatment, the university’s researchers looked to modify salmonella bacteria.
They took steps to ensure the bacteria was free of side-effects, and engineered it to target and reduce cancerous cells.
Professor Paul Dyson from Swansea University said the treatment is harmless to patients.
And he added it could have potential benefits, adding: “The salmonella will not cause any disease to any healthy tissue. It will only attack and target the tumour cells.”
How it works
It is now thought that more than 47,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed across the country on an annual basis.
But the breakthrough made by the Swansea team could have a positive impact, with cancerous cells said to have no natural defence against the bacteria strain being delivered.
According to the researchers, the bacteria can be used to deliver an anti-cancer drug to a tumour, while starving cells of nutrients.
Dr Claire Morgan from the School of Medicine said the study could prove to be a “game-changer” because of the non-toxic nature of the treatment.
She told the broadcaster: “Therapies that currently exist are very toxic and people can become ill and quite resistant to it as well. We feel that this could potentially change the way that cancer therapy is delivered.”
Following the initial research project, the technique will now be assessed in a series of pre-clinical trials.