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Could Salmonella Bacteria Kill Tumors?

Scientists from Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research are researching how salmonella kill tumours. Salmonella are regarded as bad guys. Hardly a summer passes without severe salmonella infections via raw egg dishes or chicken that find their way into the media. But salmonella not only harm us – in future they may even help to defend us against cancer. The bacteria migrate into solid tumours and make it easier to destroy them. Furthermore, in laboratory mice they independently find their way into metastases, where they can also aid clearance.

In the scientific journal PLoS One, Sara Bartels and Siegfried Weiss of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, Germany now show how the bacteria migrate into tumours. A messenger substance from the immune system is the door opener: It makes blood vessels in the cancerous tissue permeable; enabling the bacteria to conquer and destroy the tumour. Simultaneously, blood streams from the vessels into the cancerous tissue, a so-called necrosis develops – and the tumour dies. “This influx of blood was the starting point for our investigations,” says Siegfried Weiss, Head of the Molecular Immunology group at the HZI.
 
 

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