Chinese scientists develop novel technology for broad spectrum of cancers: study

Screenshot of the study published on the journal of the Cell Reports Medicine website.

Chinese scientists have developed a novel technology that could potentially restrain the growth and metastasis of a wide spectrum of solid malignant tumors, according to a new study published Friday in the journal of Cell Reports Medicine.

This new technology, developed by a team at China's Guangdong University of Technology, takes advantage of an engineered bacteria Salmonella to target and rapidly replicate itself within the tumors.

Such bacterial drug can not only induce strong inflammatory attacks but also deprive the tumors of an amino acid, methionine, that is essential for cancer cell growth and metastasis through a genetically engineered enzyme in the bacterial drug, according to the study.

The new technology is a metabolic approach that targets the strong dependency of many types of cancer cells on methionine. Thus, it is expected to have efficacy in a wide spectrum of solid human tumors, according to the research.

A graphical demonstration of the method. /Cell Reports Medicine website

In the study, the bacterial drug has been successfully tested in three divergent tumor models – triple negative breast cancer, prostate cancer, and liver cancer. In all three cases, the drug caused tumor to dissolve and sharply reduced cancer cell metastasis.

Currently clinical trials of the drug are underway in the United States and China's Taiwan region.

"The strong methionine requirement is almost a universal feature for all types of tumors, and cancer cell metastasis is the leading cause to shorten lives in cancer patients. This technology can potentially provide a new treatment modality for cancer patients and prolong their lives," said Allan Zhao, a professor at the School of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangdong University of Technology, and a co-author of the study.

The team will start clinical trials of the drug on multiple types of tumors, especially those malignant tumors that currently have no effective treatment, in an hope to prolong the lives of the patients with malignant tumors around the world.