Emerging applications of bacteria as antitumor agents

Vipin Chandra Kalia, Sanjay K.S. Patel, Byung Kwan Cho, Thomas K. Wood, Jung Kul Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Bacteria are associated with the human body and colonize the gut, skin, and mucous membranes. These associations can be either symbiotic or pathogenic. In either case, bacteria derive more benefit from their host. The ability of bacteria to enter and survive within the human body can be exploited for human benefit. They can be used as a vehicle for delivering or producing bioactive molecules, such as toxins and lytic enzymes, and eventually for killing tumor cells. Clostridium and Salmonella have been shown to infect and survive within the human body, including in tumors. There is a need to develop genetic circuits, which enable bacterial cells to carry out the following activities: (i) escape the human immune system, (ii) invade tumors, (iii) multiply within the tumorous cells, (iv) produce toxins via quorum sensing at low cell densities, and (v) express suicide genes to undergo cell death or cell lysis after the tumor has been lysed. Thus, bacteria have the potential to be exploited as anticancer agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1025
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research


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