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Bacteria vs. Tumors

August 18, 2014

Scientists demonstrate that “biosurgery” using bacteria can shrink tumors in dogs and humans.




Bacteria are injected directly into cancerous cells.

Tumor-destroying bacteria. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.Bacteria injected directly into tumors can shrink or even destroy malignancies, according to a new study. Physician scientist Saurabh Saha of BioMed Valley Discoveries in Kansas City, Missouri, was on the team. He says bacteria called Clostridium novyi thrive where there’s little oxygen.

SAURABH SAHA (BioMed Valley Discoveries):

It turns out tumors are rare places in the body where oxygen is so low that these bacteria spores like to grow and destroy tumor cells, and feed on the debris.


In contrast, chemotherapy and radiation treatment require oxygen to work. Saha and his colleagues tested the bacteria in 16 pet dogs with inoperable tumors. In six, their tumors shrank or disappeared. And three of the dogs appeared completely cured. In a human patient, they saw significant reductions in tumor size within three days of treatment. Saha says down the road, th is bacterial “biosurgery” could be used to enhance traditional cancer treatmens. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.