Bacterial 'communication system' could be used to stop and kill cancer cells

September 24, 2014
Bacterial 'communication system' could be used to stop and kill cancer cells, MU study finds
Cancer cells on the left are pre-molecule treatment. The cells on the right are after the treatment and are dead. Credit: MU News Bureau

Cancer, while always dangerous, truly becomes life-threatening when cancer cells begin to spread to different areas throughout the body. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered that a molecule used as a communication system by bacteria can be manipulated to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Senthil Kumar, an assistant research professor and assistant director of the Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says this communication system can be used to "tell" cancer cells how to act, or even to die on command.

"During an infection, bacteria release which allow them to 'talk' to each other," said Kumar, the lead author of the study. "Depending on the type of molecule released, the signal will tell other bacteria to multiply, escape the immune system or even stop spreading. We found that if we introduce the 'stop spreading' bacteria molecule to cancer cells, those cells will not only stop spreading; they will begin to die as well."

In the study published in PLOS ONE, Kumar, and co-author Jeffrey Bryan, an associate professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, treated human pancreatic cancer cells grown in culture with bacterial communication molecules, known as ODDHSL. After the treatment, the pancreatic cancer cells stopped multiplying, failed to migrate and began to die.

"We used pancreatic cancer cells, because those are the most robust, aggressive and hard-to-kill cancer cells that can occur in the human body," Kumar said. "To show that this molecule can not only stop the cancer cells from spreading, but actually cause them to die, is very exciting. Because this treatment shows promise in such an aggressive cancer like , we believe it could be used on other types of cancer cells and our lab is in the process of testing this treatment in other types of cancer."

Kumar says the next step in his research is to find a more efficient way to introduce the molecules to the cancer cells before animal and human testing can take place.

"Our biggest challenge right now is to find a way to introduce these molecules in an effective way," Kumar said. "At this time, we only are able to treat with this molecule in a laboratory setting. We are now working on a better method which will allow us to treat animals with cancer to see if this therapy is truly effective. The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies, including animal studies, are successful then the next step would be translating this application into clinics."

Explore further: Stopping the spread of breast cancer

More information: PLOS ONE, www.plosone.org/article/info%3 … journal.pone.0106480

Related Stories

Stopping the spread of breast cancer

June 3, 2014
The primary cause of death from breast cancer is the spread of tumor cells from the breast to other organs in the body. Northwestern Medicine¬ģ scientists have discovered a new pathway that can stop breast cancer cells from ...

Mesothelial cells promote ovarian cancer metastasis

September 9, 2014
Less than half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive beyond 5 years. Ovarian cancer readily spreads to abdominal organs, which are covered by a layer of cells called the mesothelium. Ovarian cancer cells ...

Blocking cells' movement to stop the spread of cancer

July 7, 2014
Insights into how cells move through the body could lead to innovative techniques to stop cancer cells from spreading and causing secondary tumours, according to new UCL research.

Potential cholesterol lowering drug has breast cancer fighting capabilities

June 17, 2014
Researchers at the University of Missouri have proven that a compound initially developed as a cholesterol-fighting molecule not only halts the progression of breast cancer, but also can kill the cancerous cells.

Leukemia drug shows promise for skin, breast and other cancers

August 19, 2014
A leukemia drug called dasatinib shows promise for treating skin, breast and several other cancers, according to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Microfluidic technology reveals potential biomarker for early pancreatic cancer

April 29, 2014
Cancer cells are on the move in the bloodstream in the very early stage of pancreatic cancer, and can be detected before cancer is diagnosed, according to research by the University of Michigan Health System.

Recommended for you

Cancer vaccines need to target T cells that can persist in the long fight against cancer

September 25, 2017
Cancer vaccines may need to better target T cells that can hold up to the long fight against cancer, scientists report.

MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer

September 25, 2017
A new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent being tested by researchers at Case Western Reserve University not only pinpoints breast cancers at early stages but differentiates between aggressive and slow-growing ...

Lung cancer treatment could be having negative health effect on hearts

September 25, 2017
Radiotherapy treatment for lung cancer could have a negative effect on the health of your heart new research has found.

Alternative splicing, an important mechanism for cancer

September 22, 2017
Cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, arises from the disruption of essential mechanisms of the normal cell life cycle, such as replication control, DNA repair and cell death. Thanks to the advances ...

'Labyrinth' chip could help monitor aggressive cancer stem cells

September 21, 2017
Inspired by the Labyrinth of Greek mythology, a new chip etched with fluid channels sends blood samples through a hydrodynamic maze to separate out rare circulating cancer cells into a relatively clean stream for analysis. ...

Whole food diet may help prevent colon cancer, other chronic conditions

September 21, 2017
A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JVK
1 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2014
The journal article authors seem to deliberately avoid using the term 'pheromones' in the context of quorum sensing.

See http://en.wikiped...sensing: "Bacteria that use quorum sensing constitutively produce and secrete certain signaling molecules (called autoinducers or pheromones)."

For contrast, see: Stop evolutionary theorists. Kill cancers
http://perfumingt...cancers/ and other articles with links to what has been known about typical and atypical nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled cell type proliferation in all cells of all individuals of all species.

Search Results for: pheromones cancer Number of Results: 25
http://perfumingt...bmit.y=0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.