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Salmonella Cancer Treatment  (Source: Reuters)
Researchers are waiting for approval to go to human trials

Cancer is one of the most researched diseases on the planet and any breakthrough in treating or diagnosing the deadly disease offers the potential to save human lives. Researchers in the U.S. and Italy working together have developed a new method of killing cancer cells using the salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella can cause serious illness in humans on its own. The researchers say that they are using a form of the bacteria that does not cause illness in humans. The bacterial is able to stimulate an immune response in the human body that leads to the body attacking cancer cells and destroying them.

The salmonella bacteria treatment is part of a new class of cancer treatments that are called immunotherapies also known as therapeutic vaccines. These types of treatment use the body's own defense to fight disease.

Researcher Maria Rescigno from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan said, "We did experiments first in mice and then in cancer cells and immune cells from human patients, and found that the salmonella was doing exactly the same job. Now we are ready to go into (testing on) humans, but we are waiting for authorization."

The salmonella bacteria used in the treatment flags the cancer cells for the body allowing the immune system to target and attack the cells. The process of flagging the cancerous cells uses a protein called connexin 43. This protein is responsible for the tiny communication channels between different types of cells. According to the researchers, these little channels allow tumor protein peptides to enter immune cells and act as red flags for the body, thereby triggering an immune response.

The researchers targeted cells mainly from melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer and has few treatments and no cure today. However, the researchers say that the treatment could also be used to target any type of cancer.

So far, the treatment has been used in mice and with living human cells. The researchers are waiting for FDA approval for human trials now.

The treatment could also be used for prostate cancer, which researchers recently discovered a potential marker for.

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RE: Soon
By nstott on 8/12/2010 12:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
Pharma companies cannot patent the work of others. Universities also file patents, which brings in a lot of money after licensing to outside companies.

(This isn't to say that I'm a fan of Big Pharma. They create a lot of medicines for chronic diseases that damage the liver and kidneys as well as causing other chronic problems for which they will sell a remedy to the life-long customer down the road. They shouldn't be allowed to market prescription medication directly to consumers but should be restricted to marketing to doctors and pharmacists.)

RE: Soon
By neihrick1 on 8/12/2010 3:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
if anything goes wrong, will smith is on standby

RE: Soon
By nstott on 8/12/2010 3:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
...and Dustin Hoffman. In the time it takes to complete a two-hour movie plot, we can cure just about any horrible disease...

(Actually, acute disease is what I wish the pharma companies would focus on, but there's less money in a one-time customer. Don't get me wrong; I'm totally a capitalist pig and am all for the free market and making money. Anyway, university research compensates well by targeting that area of medicine.)

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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