Indexed on: 13 Jan '05Published on: 13 Jan '05Published in: PNAS
Here we report a genetically modified bacteria strain, Salmonella typhimurium A1, selected for anticancer activity in vivo. The strain grows in tumor xenografts. In sharp contrast, normal tissue is cleared of these bacteria even in immunodeficient athymic mice. S. typhimurium A1 is auxotrophic (Leu/Arg-dependent) but apparently receives sufficient support from the neoplastic tissue to grow locally. Whether additional genetic lesions are present is not known. In in vitro infection, the GFP-expressing bacteria grew in the cytoplasm of PC-3 human prostate cancer cells and caused nuclear destruction. These effects were visualized in cells labeled with GFP in the nucleus and red fluorescent protein in the cytoplasm. In vivo, the bacteria caused tumor inhibition and regression of xenografts visualized by whole-body imaging. The bacteria, introduced i.v. or intratumorally, invaded and replicated intracellularly in PC-3 prostate cancer cells labeled with red fluorescent protein grafted into nude mice. By day 15, S. typhimurium A1 was undetectable in the liver, lung, spleen, and kidney, but it continued to proliferate in the PC-3 tumor, which stopped growing. When the bacteria were injected intratumorally, the tumor completely regressed by day 20. There were no obvious adverse effects on the host when the bacteria were injected by either route. The S. typhimurium A1 strain grew throughout the tumor, including viable malignant tissue. This result is in marked contrast to bacteria previously tried for cancer therapy that were confined to necrotic areas of the tumor, which may account, in part, for the strain's unique antitumor efficacy.