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Prehistoric bacteria may act as "vectors" to deliver cancer drugs

Added: Friday 9 September 2011

UK and Dutch scientists have succeeded in making a prehistoric bacterium activate cancer drugs. Clostridium sporogenes evolved on the planet before it had an oxygen-rich atmosphere, which means it thrives in low oxygen conditions such as soil. Professor Nigel Minton, the University of Nottingham scientist who led the research, said: "When Clostridia spores are injected into a cancer patient, they will only grow in oxygen-depleted environments, i.e. the centre of solid tumours. We can exploit this specificity to kill tumour cells but leave healthy tissue unscathed."