Scientists at the University of Western Australia have published the results of a study in which they used bacteria to shrink mesothelioma tumours.
The study focused on a compound comprising of proteins produced by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, commonly known as the ‘Staph’ bacteria. This is clinically used to induce pleurodesis. This is when the pleural space around the lungs closes up. In patients with mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, this pleural space can fill with fluid, causing significant breathing problems.
In light of this, research has been carried out to see if the staph bacteria would have any effect on mesothelioma tumours. Using mice in a laboratory setting, the compound was injected into mesothelioma tumours. It was found that the compound ‘was significantly inhibited in the treatment group during and after the treatment period’. However, when treatment was discontinued, the mesothelioma tumours began growing again.
The study also investigated the effect of the bacteria compound on peritoneal mesothelioma in mice. Again the treatment was found to reduce the mesothelioma tumour.
It was also noted that the treatment did not appear to have any negative side effects.
The Staphylococcus aureus compound is already readily available commercially, making the results of this study extremely encouraging for sufferers of mesothelioma.