A new approach to bacterial therapy for the treatment of lung cancer

A new approach to bacterial therapy for the treatment of lung cancer

Fluorescence microscopy image of lung cancer cells stained with antibodies against proteins involved in cell growth. Credit: Dhruba Deb/Columbia Engineering

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the United States and worldwide. Many of the currently available therapies have been ineffective, leaving patients with very few options. A promising new cancer treatment strategy has been bacterial therapy, but while this treatment has progressed rapidly from laboratory experiments to clinical trials in the past five years, the most effective treatment for certain types of cancer may be in combination with other drugs.

Columbia Engineering researchers report that they have developed a preclinical assay to characterize bacterial therapies in the lung Cancer models. Theirs new studypublished on December 13, 2022, author Scientific reports, combines bacterial therapies with other treatment modalities to improve treatment efficacy without any additional toxicity. This new approach was able to rapidly characterize bacterial therapies and successfully integrate them with current targeted therapies for lung cancer.

“We foresee a rapid and selective expansion of our offer to improve the effectiveness and safety of the treatment solid tumors” said first author Dhruba Deb, a research associate who studies the effect of bacterial toxins on lung cancer in Professor Tal Danin’s laboratory of biomedical engineering, “As someone who has lost loved ones to cancer, I would love to see this strategy move from the bench to the bedside in the future.”

The team used RNA sequencing to find out how cancer cells they reacted to the bacteria at the cellular and molecular level. They built a hypothesis based on which molecular pathways in cancer cells help the cells to be resistant to bacterial therapy. To test their hypothesis, the researchers blocked these pathways with current anti-cancer drugs and showed that a combination of drugs with bacterial toxins was more effective in eliminating lung cancer cells. They confirmed the combination of bacterial therapy with an AKT-inhibitor as an example in mouse models of lung cancer.

“This new study describes an exciting drug development pipeline that has not been explored before lung cancer—using bacteria-derived toxins,” said Upal Basu Roy, executive director of research, LUNGevity Foundation, USA. “The preclinical data presented in the manuscript provide a strong rationale for continued research in this area, thereby opening up the possibility of a new treatment option for patients diagnosed this deadly disease.”

Deb plans to expand her strategy to include larger studies of preclinical models of hard-to-treat lungs cancer and collaborate with clinicians to drive clinical translation.

More information:
Dhruba Deb et al, Design of combination therapy for bacterial engineering therapy in non-small cell lung cancer, Scientific reports (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-26105-1

Quote: New Bacterial Therapy Approach to Treat Lung Cancer (2022, December 24) Retrieved December 24, 2022 from

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