The biomedical engineers at Duke University carried out a study that found out a certain strain of food poisoning might be used in order to fight one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. The research can bring the most revolutionary medical breakthroughs of the century.
According to the scientists, Salmonella typhimurium bacteria may be used for the treatment of glioblastomas, the deadliest brain cancer cells discovered so far. Ravi Bellamkonda, one of the researchers, declared that brain cancers are one of the most difficult to treat.
When it invades the brain tissue, the tumor is not clearly delimited and this does not allow neurosurgeons to remove it completely. The goal of the researchers is to find a way to identify all the tumors and affected areas in the brain and then discharge the killing proteins against these areas.
This sounds like a great initiative. What is intriguing is the choice of food poisoning as the carrier of the killer proteins. Although it makes people sick, salmonella is the perfect candidate for this role. The fact that it can move in dense tissue proves it may actually reach all the tumors in the brain.
If salmonella bacteria are modified properly, they can be really effective in their fight with brain cancer cells. By blocking an organic compound essential for its survival, namely purine, salmonella becomes an insatiable devourer of brain tumors. Why is this the case? Purines are rich in tumors, so if they deprive the bacteria of it, they will find their most desired food source in the brain tumors.
Afterwards, the scientists programmed the killer proteins to act only when the oxygen tension was low. Apparently, since these types of tumors grow rapidly, many of them have low oxygen tension. Therefore, the killer proteins are released only in the areas of the tumor and do not affect other regions in the brain. This type of treatment may act as a cure in 20 percent of the cases, which is almost unheard of for this staggering condition.
What follows now is the analysis of the response rate to treatment and the impact of the killer protein on different types of tumors. After all the studies are concluded, researchers may proceed to human treatment. The scientific and medical world finds itself at a turning point. If the experiments prove successful, we may be able to fight one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.
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