New bacterial therapy approach opens new treatment options for lung cancer patients

New bacterial therapy approach opens new treatment options for lung cancer patients

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the United States and worldwide. Many of the therapies currently available have proven ineffective, leaving patients with very few options. A promising new strategy for treating cancer has been bacterial therapy, but although this treatment modality has rapidly progressed from laboratory experiments to clinical trials over the past five years, the most effective treatment for certain types of cancers may be in combination with other drugs.

Columbia Engineering researchers report that they have developed a preclinical evaluation pipeline for the characterization of bacterial therapies in lung cancer models. Their new study, published on December 13, 2022, by Scientific reportscombines bacterial therapies with other treatment modalities to improve treatment efficacy without any additional toxicity. This novel approach has made it possible to rapidly characterize bacterial therapies and successfully integrate them into current targeted therapies for lung cancer.

“We envision a rapid and selective expansion of our pipeline to improve the efficacy and safety of treating solid tumors,” said first author Dhruba Deb, associate researcher who studies the effect of bacterial toxins on lung cancer in Professor Tal Danino’s lab in biomedical engineering. , “As someone who has lost loved ones to cancer, I would love to see this strategy move from the bench to the bedside in the future. »

The team used RNA sequencing to find out how cancer cells respond to bacteria at the cellular and molecular levels. They built a hypothesis that molecular pathways in cancer cells help cells resist bacterial therapy. To test their hypothesis, the researchers blocked these pathways with current cancer drugs and showed that combining the drugs with bacterial toxins is more effective in eliminating lung cancer cells. They validated the combination of bacterial therapy with an AKT inhibitor as an example in mouse models of lung cancer.

This new study describes an exciting drug development pipeline that has never been explored in lung cancer – the use of bacteria-derived toxins. The preclinical data presented in the manuscript provide strong justification for further research in this area, opening up the possibility of new treatment options for patients diagnosed with this life-threatening disease.

Upal Basu Roy, Executive Director of Research, LUNGevity Foundation, USA

Deb plans to extend her strategy to larger studies in preclinical models of hard-to-treat lung cancers and to collaborate with clinicians to advance clinical translation.

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