Dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer

Dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, with about 1.4 million new cases annually.

Traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy do not work well in the colon due to reduced blood flow and the lack of oxygen and nutrient flow in the tumor environment. This is because such therapies rely on oxygen molecules to damage the DNA of cancer cells and blood flow to transport therapeutic drugs to the tumor.

In contrast, the team showed that dead C. sporogenes bacteria can kill tumor cells in an oxygen-starved tumor microenvironment.

Harvesting the Clostridium sporogenesbacteria found commonly in soil, the researchers were able to harness the bacteria in its dead form, and its secretions, to destroy colon tumors cells effectively.

The team conducted experiments in 3D cell culture which were artificially-created environments, resembling the inside of a human body, unlike most lab experiments which are done on a flat surface in a petri-dish.

In a 72-hour experiment, the inactive bacteria were able to reduce the growth of colon tumour cells by 74 per cent. In addition, the team tested the secretions harvested from a live bacteria culture and these secretions reduced growth of colon tumor cells by as much as 83 per cent.

"We found that even when the C. sporogenes bacteria is dead, its natural toxicity continues to kill cancer cells, unlike the conventional chemotherapy drugs which need oxygen to work," explained the Prof.

http://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=99c630df-8dbb-4562-b61f-c7346ff1a8c2

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