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Three wrongs make a right

Pancreatic cancer is a dreadful disease. Even in rich countries, only about 4% of those diagnosed with it are still alive after five years. In America it is the third-most-common cause of cancer deaths among women, after lung and breast cancer; among men it is fourth, after lung, prostate and colorectal cancer. Dispiritingly, there has been little progress in treating it for more than a quarter of a century.

The reason pancreatic cancer is so deadly is that it metastasises quickly. This spreading of secondary tumours around the body damages other organs and has proved impossible to stop. But a group of researchers led by Claudia Gravekamp of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York, have an intriguing idea for changing that. As they describe in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they plan to do it by infecting people with radioactive bacteria.
 
 

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