New therapeutic approach for cancer inspired by nature

Targeting tumours with living bacteria.

Qualified for the “BaseLaunch” funding program: Marlise Amstutz, Simon Ittig and Christoph Kasper of T3 Pharmaceuticals
Qualified for the “BaseLaunch” funding program: Marlise Amstutz, Simon Ittig and Christoph Kasper of T3 Pharmaceuticals. (Image: University of Basel, Basile Bornand)

By genetically modifying bacteria, a new startup from the University of Basel known T3 Pharmaceuticals AG want to develop new cancer therapies. Scientists actually took inspiration from nature and they are adapting it to find alternatives to chemotherapy.

Scientists are consolidating two understood regular wonders: that microbes can colonize tumours, and those specific microscopic organisms can infuse independent protein atoms into human cells. To do this, they utilize an ultra-fine needle known as a “type III secretion system”.

The real plan is to reprogram the bacteria in order to transform the desired proteins into the tumour cells. Through this approach, scientists make it possible to introduce therapeutically effective proteins directly into the cancerous cells.

Microbiologist Simon Ittig said, “At the same time, we also need to ensure that these microbes are not dangerous to humans – without removing their ability to colonize tumours.”

Experiments on mice have shown that after a few days the “tamed” bacteria are no longer present in the healthy tissue, but can be found in a tumour in their millions. The cancer is their niche because the immune system in the area of a tumour is often suppressed.

This is unequivocally where the helpful impact of the infused proteins grabs hold, by enacting the safe framework and hence assaulting the tumour.

Ittig’s examination with microorganisms and T3SS needles has been a progressive advancement. In mid-2012, he assumed control over a gathering of bacterial strains and created broad specialized aptitude on account of his then doctoral boss and coach Professor Guy Cornelis.

“In those days, I didn’t yet know exactly what these microorganisms could be utilized for”, he said. They soon turned out to be a blessing, as he can at present utilize the accumulation for tests today, which spares numerous periods of work.

In May 2015, Ittig and his partners established T3 Pharmaceuticals so as to build up the venture on a business level. The organization’s name is gotten from the sort III emission framework that is basic to their examination.

Ittig said, “We’ve received an incredible amount of support from the Biozentrum and the University. The group faces impressive difficulties ahead. The venture is still in the preclinical stage.”

According to Ittig, it will be an additional two years until the principal testing on people in clinical trials. With a decent group, the correct financial specialists and a perfect situation, the youthful business visionaries from T3 Pharma are anticipating a splendid future.The group faces impressive difficulties ahead.”

The venture is still in the preclinical stage. As per Ittig, it will be an additional two years until the principal testing on people in clinical trials. With a decent group, the correct financial specialists and a perfect situation, the youthful business visionaries from T3 Pharma are anticipating a splendid future.