Bacteria-triggered tumor-specific thrombosis to enable potent photothermal immunotherapy of cancer

Journal: Science Advances

Published: 2020-08-01

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3546

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Tumour-targeted bacteria prime cancers for phototherapy



Bacteria that naturally home to tumours can help sensitize cancers to laser treatment and immunotherapy.

For decades, scientists have tried to harness the tumour-targeting properties of Salmonella bacteria to fight cancer — with limited success.

Now, researchers from Soochow University in China have developed a new therapeutic strategy that destroys cancer cells by combining an attenuated strain of Salmonella with heating by laser light.

The combination approach takes advantage of Salmonella’s ability to selectively colonize tumour tissues and trigger clotting in the surrounding blood vessels. The darkened colour of the bacterial-infecting tumours promoted absorption of near-infrared light, which can be delivered with a laser to ablate cancer cells.

The researchers demonstrated the concept’s feasibility in mouse models of various tumour types. The cancer-shrinking effects were magnified when the team also administered a drug designed to promote anti-tumour immunity.

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  1. Science Advances 6, eaba3546 (2020). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3546
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Soochow University, China 1