Therapy for cancer with anthrax bacteria

Therapy for cancer with anthrax bacteria

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Therapy for cancer with anthrax bacteria

Anthrax is an infectious disease that often ends in death. The pathogen Bacillus anthracis was even used as a biological weapon. However, the bacterium is not only a specter of doctors, but could possibly also offer a new therapeutic approach against cancer.

Feared among medical professionals Bacillus anthracis is feared among medical professionals because the anthrax pathogen can very effectively inject toxic proteins into healthy human cells. As "" writes, Bradley Pentelute from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues now want to use this weapon to hit tumors and thus fight cancer better. To this end, the researchers removed certain sections of the responsible enzymes of the bacterium, which are responsible for the poisoning of the cells because they destroy important cell processes. As reported, there was only the section left that docks to the cell and guides the proteins to their target via a narrow access.

Instead of its deadly “cargo”, the scientists equipped the disarmed bacteria with two artificially produced antibody proteins. By paralyzing the metabolism of the tumors, they are supposed to kill the cancer cells. In the past few years, antibody therapies have increasingly aroused the interest of medical professionals because they can be used to specifically combat cancer. However, they are all still faced with a major hurdle: it has so far been extremely difficult to get the valuable cargo into the dangerous cells. Bacillus anthracis could do this in the future. The useful conversion of the bacterium was already successful in the test tube. Pentelute and his colleagues are next planning experiments on cancerous mice.

Deaths in Germany two years ago The pathogen Bacillus anthracis causes the often fatal infectious disease anthrax, also known as anthrax. The bacterium was even used as a biological weapon. In Germany, the anthrax pathogen caused at least two deaths and three further infections in the previous year. At the time, the pathogen, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), probably came to Germany from the UK in contaminated heroin. Such heroin had been in circulation in the drug scene there since 2009. (ad)

Image: Sebastian Karkus /

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