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Engineering the perfect (bacterial) cancer therapy

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Abstract

Bacterial therapies possess many unique mechanisms for treating cancer that are unachievable with standard methods. Bacteria can specifically target tumours, actively penetrate tissue, are easily detected and can controllably induce cytotoxicity. Over the past decade, Salmonella, Clostridium and other genera have been shown to control tumour growth and promote survival in animal models. In this Innovation article I propose that synthetic biology techniques can be used to solve many of the key challenges that are associated with bacterial therapies, such as toxicity, stability and efficiency, and can be used to tune their beneficial features, allowing the engineering of 'perfect' cancer therapies.

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Figure 1: Bacteria are the optimal robot factory cancer therapies.
Figure 2: The transport properties of bacterial therapies produce preferable drug concentration profiles.
Figure 3: Gene triggering systems.

Change history

  • 16 December 2010

    On page 787 of this article the Salmonella strain VNP20009 was incorrectly referred to as VNP200009.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partly supported by the US National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute grant CA120825.

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Forbes, N. Engineering the perfect (bacterial) cancer therapy. Nat Rev Cancer 10, 785–794 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc2934

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