Salmonella and cancer: from pathogens to therapeutics
Paulina Chorobik, Dominik Czaplicki, Karolina Ossysek and Joanna Bereta
Bacterial cancer therapy is a concept more than 100 years old - yet, all things considered, it is still in early development. While the use of many passive therapeutics is hindered by the complexity of tumor biology, bacteria offer unique features that can overcome these limitations. Microbial metabolism, motility and sensitivity can lead to site-specific treatment, highly focused on the tumor and safe to other tissues. Activation of tumor-specific immunity is another important mechanism of such therapies. Several bacterial strains have been evaluated as cancer therapeutics so far, Salmonella Typhimurium being one of the most promising. S. Typhimurium and its derivatives have been used both as direct tumoricidal agents and as cancer vaccine vectors. VNP20009, an attenuated mutant of S. Typhimurium, shows significant native toxicity against murine tumors and was studied in a first-in-man phase I clinical trial for toxicity and anticancer activity. While proved to be safe in cancer patients, insufficient tumor colonization of VNP20009 was identified as a major limitation for further clinical development. Antibody-fragment-based targeting of cancer cells is one of the few approaches proposed to overcome this drawback.
Acta Biochimica Polonica, 60(3), 285-297, Review
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