Researchers from Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science developed a strain of non-patogenic bacteria able to colonize tumors and deliver potent immunotherapies. It acts as a Trojan horse affecting tumors from within.
To check their new technique, the scientists applied the engineered strain to mice with cancer, and the delivered therapy led not only to complete tumor regression of lymphoma, but also significant control of distant, uninjected tumor lesions.
Tal Danino, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, comments: “Seeing untreated tumors respond alongside treatment of primary lesions was an unexpected discovery. It is the first demonstration following a bacterial cancer therapy of what is termed an ‘abscopal’ effect. This means that we’ll be able to engineer bacteria to prime tumors locally, and then stimulate the immune system to seek out tumors and metastases that are too small to be detected with imaging or other approaches.”