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Binary Cancer Treatment

Safely destroying tumors with bacteria
  [vote for,

To safely destroy a cancerous tumor, bacteria are injected directly into the tumor, along with a cofactor. The bacteria are genetically altered to depend upon the cofactor for reproduction. The cofactor is typically a large protein molecule with a low diffusion rate in tissue. It may be deposited into the tumor in microencapsulated form, so that it is released over a long period of time. Destruction of the tumor is by direct action of the bacteria on the tumor, or by immune response. Reproduction of bacteria outside the tumor is suppressed by absence of the cofactor.
pluterday, Jan 16 2003


       I know nothing of this,however if it's a start +
skinflaps, Jan 16 2003

       Actually, [Dimandja, thanks for the link] bacteria were used way back in the 19th century to destroy tumors. My invention here is in the use of cofactors. It seems to be novel, at least according to Google, where I can’t find anything similar. (But then, its late, and I’ve been drinking...but only one bottle of cheap merlot.)
pluterday, Jan 16 2003

       Hmm like this idea. Perhaps might be easier to engineer them to require a cofactor to absorb nutrient. Perhaps not even requiring genetic engineering but perhaps just a chemical coating/chemically treated cell walls.   

       Hmm, if they are just coated they shouldn't be allowed to reproduce...
madness, Jan 16 2003

       If you can engineer bacteria in this way, isn't it equally easy to alter them (or other agents) to simply destroy cancerous cells and leave healthy ones alone? This appears to be what the researchers in the linked story have done.
Monkfish, Jan 16 2003

       [Monkfish] Dimandja's link is from a number of years ago. The altered bugs did not work out as planned.

A more recent quote -- "Yet, the bacteria alone weren't sufficient to stop tumor growth altogether, Pawelek says in an interview with WebMD."
pluterday, Jan 17 2003

       Targeted MRSA - type organism ?   

       An interesting variant on the "magic bullet" idea.
8th of 7, Jan 17 2003

       I don't like the sound of this. I'm so sceptical of bacteria I'm afraid to drink the dairy-produce-cultures that are in fad at the moment.   

       Give me toxic chemicals, high powered X-rays and the scalpel any day.
Jinbish, Jan 17 2003

       // "MRSA" is whispered in hushed voices //   

       Odd, round here it's greated with panic-stricken screaming and the receeding sound of running feet.
8th of 7, Jan 17 2003

       //Give me toxic chemicals, high powered X-rays and the scalpel any day!//

       And so, boys and girls, with those stirring words, Jinbish died. He was a true patriot for the AMA.
pluterday, Jan 17 2003

       <aside> I wonder, if you operated on [DrCurry] and removed the malignant bits, would there be anything left </aside>
8th of 7, Jan 17 2003

       pluterday, you sort of answered the afterthought instead of the question there. I wasn't under the impression that they'd cured cancer; I probably would have heard something about that. It's the fact that they chose that approach that's significant. This is an interesting idea (+), and it would probably do no harm to try different things, but it seems more complicated and dangerous than the existing lines of research.
Monkfish, Jan 17 2003

       But of course they cannot admit that they’ve cured cancer. Anyone who does that is promptly assassinated by the consortium of radiologists, oncologists, and others who are collectively know as ……………ahhh……gggggg…

<connection lost>
pluterday, Jan 17 2003

       Don't get me wrong [pluterday] - I'd *love* to have a good alternative to chemo + radio + surgery. Rumour has it they can be quite an experience (but on the plus side you meet alot of nice nurses).   

       But, I fail to see how the bacteria can be any better at destroying tumour than the correct use of chemo.   

       Assuming that the bacteria only thrive in the presence of a reagent, you must target the reagent precisely. But this whole targetting thing is the problem. If we could target an area for the chemotherapy then the good ol' toxic cocktail would destroy/inhibit tumour and leave healthy cells alone. So what is the advantage of using the bacteria?   

       Furthermore, how would this work in the case where a cancer exists as multiple tumours? Would you flush the patient with bacteria + reagent?
Jinbish, Jan 17 2003

       Dear Mr. Jinbish,
I am sorry to have to inform you that Dr. Pluterday has had an accident. A broken neck. Once of those spontaneous things, apparently.

As her assistant, I have to tell you that Dr. Pluterday was quite mad. Manuscripts on time travel. Cancer cures. Just rubbish like that, all piled to the ceiling. I will have to burn it all, I suppose.

Dr. Pluterday’s assistant
pluterday, Jan 17 2003

       <Camera pulls back to show Black Helicopter disappearing toward the horizon at treetop height, the downwash swirling the smoke from a pile of charred and illegible documents and computer disks>
8th of 7, Jan 17 2003

       <cut to our hero (Me!), on his knees in the mud and torrential rain, clutching a bundle of cinders>
<looks at cinders>
"WAIT! I ... can... just ...make out something... something about beer? - Cold beer was the answer all along!"
Jinbish, Jan 17 2003

       <obscure movie reference>But I'm afraid the formula to add bubbles to beer was lost. All we have left is this curious E=mc^2 equation, which appears to be quite absurd. Everybody knows that matter and energy have nothing in common...</omr>
RayfordSteele, Jan 17 2003

       *Meanwhile, a fiendish-looking man is tying a beautiful lass to some railroad tracks, twisting his handlebar moustache and chuckling dementedly for no apparent reason*
Evil_Baron_Moustachio, Jan 17 2003

       Please .... please don't damage the locomotive .... it might be derailed and be damaged ..... OHHHHH, I can't watch ... <covers eyes>
8th of 7, Jan 17 2003

       I saw this on a programme one time, where a cat had got an infection on its ear and rather than the bacteria causing the ear to ‘drop off’, it was the cat's own immune response that started to destroy the tissue of the ear. So rather than using bacteria to destroy the cancerous cells why not use your own bodies immune response, (of course you would have to put a lot more thought into this than I did, I don’t know which type of bacteria would do this or even if a human immune system would even have the same effect as a cats).
STE_2020, Jan 17 2003


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