Clostridium to treat cancer: Dream or reality?

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In their paper "Intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT spores induces antitumor responses", Roberts et al. describe the induction of antitumor responses following local spore administration of an attenuated C. novyi strain (C. novyi-NT). Stereotactic intratumoral spore injection led to significant survival advantages in a murine orthotopic brain model and local bacterial treatment produced robust responses in a set of spontaneous canine soft tissue carcinomas. Their preclinical findings in both models, provided the basis for a phase 1 investigational clinical study in patients with solid tumors that were either refractory to standard treatment or without an available standard treatment available (NCT01924689). The results of the first patient enrolled in this trial, a 53-year-old female with a retroperitoneal leiomyosarcoma, are described. Next to the non-armed C. novyi-NT described in this paper, very potent genetically modified Clostridium expressing anti-cancer therapeutic genes are also being developed. Are treatments with these non-pathogenic clostridia a viable alternative cancer treatment?

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Theys, J., & Lambin, P. (2015). Clostridium to treat cancer: Dream or reality? Annals of Translational Medicine. AME Publishing Company.

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