Scientists at Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, and McGill University have tinkered with flagellated bacteria, to deliver drugs to tumors. Swarms of these bacteria (Magnetococcus marinus), each having an iron-oxide crystal that can be pulled at with a magnet, and liposome vesicles attached to them that carry an anti-cancer drug, were injected into mice with colorectal cancer.
Each of the bacterial cells had about 70 of the liposomes stuck to its body. Unlike previously designed nanoparticles that deliver cancer drugs, the carriers were a lot more successfull at reaching the final destination.
In the study, published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers showed that 55% of the bacteria reached the low-oxygen regions of tumors that are typically hard to penetrate.
The bacteria are directed toward a tumor thanks to external computer controlled magnets, and when the carriers recognize the low-oxygen environment, they tend to want to stay put.
“This innovative use of nanotransporters will have an impact not only on creating more advanced engineering concepts and original intervention methods, but it also throws the door wide open to the synthesis of new vehicles for therapeutic, imaging and diagnostic agents,” Professor Sylvain Martel of Polytechnique Montréal, said in a statement. “Chemotherapy, which is so toxic for the entire human body, could make use of these natural nanorobots to move drugs directly to the targeted area, eliminating the harmful side effects while also boosting its therapeutic effectiveness.”
Study in Nature Nanotechnology: Magneto-aerotactic bacteria deliver drug-containing nanoliposomes to tumour hypoxic regions…