Synthetic bacterial cancer therapy

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Science  02 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6452, pp. 459-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6452.459-f

Some bacteria preferentially grow in tumors, because exclusion of immune cells and reduced oxygen favor their proliferation. This phenomenon offers the opportunity to exploit nonpathogenic engineered bacteria to deliver drugs directly into the tumor. Chowdhury et al. developed a synthetic Escherichia coli strain programmed to target the innate immune regulator CD47. A single-domain antibody fragment (nanobody) therapeutic loaded into the bacteria blocks CD47 and promotes antitumor responses. In mice, this treatment led to regression of both primary tumors and metastases. Bacterial delivery of the CD47 nanobody to tumors, combined with bacterial lysis, stimulates antitumor immune responses and immune memory, indicating that this could be a viable therapeutic approach.

Nat. Med. 25, 1057 (2019).

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