A team of scientists at the University of Minnesota has found a groundbreaking use for salmonella, but don’t worry – it’s far from food. Instead, the bacterium is being used within the field of cancer therapy.
Led by Daniel Saltzman, M.D., researchers working on the University’s Project Stealth have altered salmonella so it no longer causes food-related illness, but rather, delivers cancer drugs interleukin-2 (IL-2) and other proteins like IL-15 to tumor cells. Once there, they work to stimulate the patient’s immune system to destroy cancer cells.
The key, Saltzman says, was the discovery that salmonella naturally flocks to tumor cells. Knowing this, researchers can use the bacteria to their advantage, attacking tumors in a new way.