M. Smegmatis Engineered To SecreteTNF Shows Early Promise In Bladder Cancer

LONDON (Agence de Presse Medicale for Reuters Health) - Recombinant Mycobacterium smegmatis secreting tumour necrosis factor-alpha shows early promise in the treatment of bladder cancer, researchers said on Tuesday.

Current treatments include BCG immunotherapy but this does not work in 30%-40% of patients and is associated with significant toxicity.

The team, at St James's University Hospital, Leeds, northern England, examined in mice the anti-tumour potential of the closely related organism, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and a TNF gene-modified recombinant M. smegmatis.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Cancer, show that when wild-type M. smegmatis was delivered to immunocompetent C57Bl/6 mice bearing the transplantable MB49 bladder tumour, efficacy comparable to live BCG was observed with 10%-20% long-term survival.

Recombinant M. smegmatis secreting TNF, however, produced a 70% durable tumour-free survival. No toxicity was observed.

Professor Peter Selby, head of the Cancer Research UK clinical centre in Leeds, said in a statement: "The safety of these bacteria would need to be formally verified before they could be tried in people, but the prospects are exciting."

Source: Int J Cancer 2004. [ Google search on this article ]

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