Researches using 'bugs as drugs' for breast, prostate cancer
Scientists and researchers are working on a technology that would allow them to fight cancer in a biotic manner without harming living organisms within them.
Magnets manufactured by soil bacteria can be the future of medicine, as they can cure breast, prostate, and other tumors.
Scientists are working on the development of magnetically guided microscopic projectiles that can be injected into patients' blood to target malignant tumors present in the body, which have been a dilemma in the scientific field for decades.
The project is led by researchers at Sheffield University, England, and it is based on progress made in two highly significant medical fields: viruses that specifically attack tumors and soil bacteria that manufacture magnets they use to align themselves in the Earth's magnetic field.
"The essence of this approach is straightforward: we are using bugs as drugs," said Dr. Munitta Muthana, one of the leading scientists on the project. She went on to explain that they are using a class of viruses that instinctively attack tumors, and they are developing ways to help them reach internal tumors by exploiting bacteria that make magnets.
The viruses being used in the process are known as oncolytic viruses. After a cancer cell is infected with an oncolytic virus, it bursts open and dies.
The FDA in the United States has already approved the use of T-Vec, a modified herpes simplex virus that infects and kills cancer cells, which is now being used to treat people with types of melanoma, a skin cancer.
The team working on the development of the viruses is seeking to expand the range of tumors this method can tackle. Particularly, breast and prostate cancer as priorities.
The two discoveries will be merged as such: scientists say they want to coat the cancer-attacking viruses in magnetic particles and inject them into the bloodstream. From thereon, the microscopic projectiles will head toward tumors via magnets placed over a patient's body.
With the technology fully developed, the Sheffield team is now working on ensuring they are able to manufacture sufficient supplies to kick off clinician trials on humans soon after trials were focused on animal models.