When you think of salmonella, food poisoning, getting violently sick, and gastrointestinal trouble spring to mind. However, it seems that this much-maligned bacterium has its uses. Researchers have investigated whether engineered Salmonella typhimurium may be a tool in the fight against cancer. In this article, we examine can salmonella kill cancer cells?
Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital in Jeonnam, South Korea Research Project
In this study, researchers began by engineering a strain of salmonella that is much less potent than the one causing food poisoning. The study showed that this modified salmonella triggers a strong immune system response.
In animals that meant that the tumors became suppressed through the introduction of this engineered salmonella strain. In addition, survival rates increased.
Using bacteria in the fight against cancers is a novel approach with many potential benefits. These include environmental sensing, self-proliferation, and self-propulsion. Scientists now believe that, of all the bacteria, Salmonella typhimurium is especially useful as a potential cancer-fighting agent. As a result, they may carry out clinical tests on humans.
What Does Engineered Salmonella Typhimurium Do to Cancer Cells?
When asking the question can salmonella kill cancer cells, we need to examine what this bacterium does to tumors.
During the South Korea Study, scientists observed that salmonella can infiltrate cancer cells and trigger a strong immune system response. This is significant, seeing as cancer cells have developed ways of avoiding the immune system. By introducing engineered salmonella strains, the tumor would then become susceptible to an immune system response once again.
More Research and Funding Needed
In the aftermath of this successful study, researchers are now seeking funding for clinical trials. Cancer experts have called this discovery “promising” but noted that it would take a long time to develop effective cancer treatments using this newly-discovered knowledge.
So, if you’re asking can salmonella kill cancer cells, it appears that this bacterium may lead to the development of effective cancer treatments in years to come.