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Bacteriolytic therapy may be a promising treatment strategy for advanced pancreatic cancer patients

World Journal of Gastroenterology

The aim of cancer immunotherapy is the stimulation of immune mechanisms to recognize malignant cells and may be a useful complementary therapy to conventional anticancer therapy. Immunotherapy was initiated over 100 years ago when New York surgeon William B. Coley inoculated a bacterial vaccine consisting of Streptococcus pyogenes and Serratia marcescens. Several patients experienced a beneficial effect on malignancy and were finally cured of their tumours by the development of a potent immune response.

A research article to be published on July 28,2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology worked on this old idea. The research team led by Dr. Michael Linnebacher from the University of Rostock treated pancreatic carcinoma with Clostridium novyi-spores. In their experimental model they analyzed animals with tumours of different sizes. Treatment success depended on tumour size. Small tumours were completely unaffected whereas the treatment was toxic in cases of very large tumours. Most interestingly, tumours of a defined medium size completely disappeared and animals remained free of tumour recurrence. The authors showed that immune mechanisms were responsible for this success.

The bacterial spores germinate and grow in the oxygen-free tumour centres where they damage surrounding tumour cells. This together with an infection-driven infiltration of tumours by cells of the innate immune system leads to significant damage to tumours.

These data indicate that the application of bacteria may be a promising treatment strategy for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer and warrants further investigation.


Reference: Maletzki C, Gock M, Klier U, Klar E, Linnebacher M. Bacteriolytic therapy of experimental pancreatic carcinoma. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16(28): 3546-3552

Correspondence to: Dr. Michael Linnebacher, Department of General, Vascular, Thoracic and Transplantation Surgery, Section of Molecular Oncology and Immunotherapy, University of Rostock, Schillingallee 35, 18057 Rostock, Germany.

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About World Journal of Gastroenterology

World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H. pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2009 IF: 2.092. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.

About The WJG Press

The WJG Press mainly publishes World Journal of Gastroenterology.

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