Columbia Biomedical Engineers Develop Therapeutic Strategy to Combine Bacterial Therapies with Drugs – Zoo House News

Columbia Biomedical Engineers Develop Therapeutic Strategy to Combine Bacterial Therapies with Drugs – Zoo House News

  • Science
  • December 31, 2022
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Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the United States and around the world. Many of the currently available therapies have been ineffective, leaving patients with very few options. A promising new strategy for treating cancer has been bacterial therapy, but while this treatment modality has rapidly progressed from laboratory experiments to clinical trials over the past five years, the most effective treatment for certain types of cancer may be in combination with other drugs.

Columbia Engineering researchers report that they have developed a preclinical evaluation pipeline to characterize bacterial therapies in lung cancer models. Their new study, published by Scientific Reports on December 13, 2022, combines bacterial therapies with other treatment modalities to improve treatment efficacy without added toxicity. This new approach was able to rapidly characterize bacterial therapies and successfully integrate them into current targeted therapies for lung cancer.

“We envision a rapid and selective expansion of our pipeline to improve treatment efficacy and safety in solid tumors,” said first author Dhruba Deb, an associate research scientist who studies the effects of bacterial toxins in Professor Tal Danino’s laboratory of Biomedical Engineering Lung Cancer Investigated , “As someone who has lost loved ones to cancer, I would love to see this strategy move from the bench to the bedside in the future.”

The team used RNA sequencing to find out how cancer cells respond to bacteria at the cellular and molecular levels. They hypothesized that cancer cell molecular pathways help the cells become resistant to bacterial therapy. To test their hypothesis, the researchers blocked these pathways with current anti-cancer drugs and showed that combining the drugs with bacterial toxins is more effective at eliminating lung cancer cells. They validated the combination of bacterial therapy with an AKT inhibitor in mouse models of lung cancer.

“This new study describes an exciting drug development pipeline previously unexplored in lung cancer – the use of toxins derived from bacteria,” said Upal Basu Roy, Executive Director of Research, LUNGevity Foundation, USA. “The preclinical data presented in the manuscript provide a strong rationale for further research in this area, thereby opening the possibility of new treatment options for patients diagnosed with this deadly disease.”

Deb plans to expand its strategy into larger trials in preclinical models of difficult-to-treat lung cancer and work with clinicians to advance clinical implementation.

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Materials provided by Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science. Originally written by Holly Evarts. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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