Antitumor Effect of Intratumoral Injection of Clostridium Spores


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Species of Clostridium bacteria have been shown to kill tumor cells growing under hypoxic conditions. In a study reported in Science Translational Medicine, Roberts and colleagues showed that intratumoral injection of an attenuated strain of Clostridium novyi (C novyi-NT) produced a microscopically precise tumor-localized response in a rat orthotopic brain tumor model.

In a study in naturally occurring canine solid tumors, intratumoral injection of the spores was well tolerated, with the most common toxicities being symptoms associated with bacterial infection. Objective response occurred in 6 (37.5%) of 16 dogs, including three complete responses. Intratumoral injection of C novyi-NT spores in a patient with advanced leiomyosarcoma resulted in tumor shrinkage within and surrounding the bone.

The investigators concluded: “Together, these results show that C novyi-NT can precisely eradicate neoplastic tissues and suggest that further clinical trials of this agent in selected patients are warranted.” ■

Roberts NJ, et al: Sci Transl Med 6:249ra111, 2014.


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