Pancreatic cancer is a vicious killer, metastasising quickly and spreading across the body with little treatment options available to do much about it. A drastic new approach, that of using radioactive bacteria to target tumors large and small, has been demonstrated in a promising animal study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
An attenuated form of Listeria bacteria has been known to selectively infect cancer cells, leaving healthy tissue alone. That is because the immune system around cancer cells is dysfunctional and so Listeria is able to survive. While other researchers worked on using Listeria to transport cancer medications into cancer cells, in a nod to the namesake of their institution, the researchers decided to bring a bit of nuclear warfare to the cancer by attaching particles of Rhenium-188, a common medical radioisotope, to the bacteria.
Here’s Claudia Gravekamp, lead author of the study describing the research:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine announcement: Radioactive Bacteria Targets Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer