Bizarre Biology: Bacteria could stops the side effects of cancer treatment?

Could a bacteria stop the side effects of cancer treatment? Clostridium sporogenes is a soil bacteria which could in the future be used to deliver toxic cancer drugs only to the cancerous tumour, rather than the whole body, reducing their crippling side effects. In nature, the bacteria is only found in soil with no oxygen – which is why they are so useful. Solid tumors (which cause cancers such as breast, brain and prostate) don’t contain oxygen (unlike every other tissue in the human body), so the microbes can only survive there when injected into the human body, where they multiply. In the near future scientists hope to genetically engineer them to carry cancer drugs, making them perfect delivery system. These soil-living superheroes could make the side effects of treatment a thing of past .

Other magnetic soil bacteria may also provide targets drug treatments. As magnetic bacteria can already swim (with their flagella) and have magnets inside them, the plan is to direct them towards the target cells using a controlled magnetic fields.

(Full disclosure: the picture above is of E.Coli another rod shaped bacteria. All the Clostridium pictures were copyright)