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Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

June 26, 2012

Genetically modified L. acidophilus bacteria reverse colon cancer in mice.



Bacteria that rewind cancer.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

With one genetic tweak, the kind of bacteria found in yogurt reversed colon cancer in mice. University of Florida immunologist Mansour Mohamadzadeh led the research. He and his colleagues used two types of Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria to treat mice with precancerous colon polyps. One was the unmodified natural variety, but the other was engineered to lack a surface molecule called LTA.

MANSOUR MOHAMADZADEH (University of Florida):

We saw that LTA-deficient Lactobacillus acidophilus significantly decreased the polyps in the colon.

Those bacteria, in particular, reduced inflammation in the colon, allowing the  animals’ immune systems to focus on the polyps. LTA appears to promote inflammation, and deleting it allows the bacteria to perform all their beneficial functions without the downside. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.