The team, led by Dr. Ravid Straussman from the Department of Molecular Molecular Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in turn discovered strange bacteria living in cancer cells of the pancreas, brain, bone, breast, and lung. ; as well as identifying unique populations of bacteria that reside in each type of cancer cell.
Photos taken by Israeli high-tech means for the first time reveal the bacterial community inhabiting cancer cells - (photo: Weizmann Institute of Science).
These tiny unicellular "monsters" are more influential on the course of the disease than they are imagined. Some bacteria can enhance the immune response, helping the body fight cancer more strongly; while others are dangerous "enemies" for suppressing the immune response and the effects of cancer treatment with immunotherapy.
The microbiota in cancer cells is also affected by the patient's lifestyle. This was found when the authors compared the bacterial flora in the lung tumors of smoking and non-smoking patients.
While it may sound intimidating, Dr. Straussman said the finding could pave the way for new-generation cancer treatments, based on the control of the microbiota residing in cancer cells. . For example, these are targeted drugs to kill bacteria that suppress the body's immunity, while enhancing the activity of beneficial bacteria to turn them into "allies."
The research has just been published in the journal Science.