Magnetic bacteria help fight tumors

(ORDO NEWS) — Swiss scientists have learned to control the movements of iron-containing bacteria by passing them through the walls of blood vessels right to the target. In the future, such microbes will help to deliver targeted drugs to tumor tissue.

One of the promising tools for defeating cancer is considered to be means that allow targeted delivery of drugs to the tumor.

Scientists are trying a variety of ways to do this, from microscopic robots to ultrasound and X-rays.

Recently, a team from the ETH Zurich (ETH Zurich) showed that bacteria with natural magnetism can also solve this problem.

Professor Simone Schürle and his colleagues worked with bacteria from the genus Magnetospirillum.

These microbes are able to actively move using flagella and orient themselves in the Earth’s magnetic field due to the presence of iron-filled magnetosomes.

This prompted scientists to use external magnetic fields to control the movements of bacteria in order to direct them to exactly the right place in the patient’s body.

The authors conducted experiments with live mice and cultures of human cells “in vitro”, showing that the method really allows you to “command” bacteria.

Under the influence of a magnetic field, they are able to pass through the walls of blood vessels and colonize the tumor.

The use of a rotating magnetic field greatly increases the efficiency of this process. Microbes literally screw into the vascular membranes, squeezing through the narrowest gaps in them.

After an hour, the field can be turned off: by this time, the bacteria are in the tumor and then independently move into the depths.

In the future, Magnetospirillum cells could be modified to carry drugs. Scientists have demonstrated this by attaching liposomes, spherical structures filled with fluorescent material, to cells.

During the experiment, the microbes successfully delivered it to the target. In the future, such liposomes can also be filled with therapeutic agents.

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