Radioactive Microbes Kill Tumor Cells

Even though modern medicine has made great leaps against many forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer remains especially resistant to treatment and is almost always fatal. About 4% of patients survive for five years due to the cancer being able to metastasize quickly to other parts of the body. Now, researchers have developed a method to stop the cancer from spreading. This new method involves the delivery of radiation directly on to the cancer cells by using genetically altered bacteria. The bacterium used is Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria shaped in the form of a rod that enters the cells of the organisms it infects. The pathogen in itself is able to cause a severe illness in people known as meningitis. Due to this fact, researchers may use a weakened form of the bacteria which would teach the body’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. In a previously conducted study, results showed that a combination of the bacteria and radation shrank tumor sizes by 64%, while Listeria alone shrank tumor sizes by 20%. Damage to healthy tissue was minimal. Hopefully these studies and results are only the beginning of finding a way to battle this very serious disease.