Biomedical researchers at Duke University have been cooking up something grim in their top-secret lab. Zombie bacteria.
Salmonella has a bad rep, it affects millions of people every year in the UK, sometimes fatally. It’s a mean motherfucker.
Well, salmonella meet your redemption. Scientists have altered the DNA of a salmonella strain and directed it towards something even meaner – brain cancer. Specifically glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of neuro-cancer.
According to Eureka Alert! “With a few genetic tweaks, the engineers turned the bacterium into a cancer-seeking missile that produces self-destruct orders deep within tumours.”
They saw a stunning result in rat test subjects, the tumors which are notoriously incurable went into remission.
How did they do this? In layman’s terms, the team removed an enzyme called purine which helps power the bacteria. This forced the zombie salmonella to go on the hunt for more. Funnily enough, tumours are chock full of purine, causing the zombie bacteria to attack them like something out of The Walking Dead.
This is excellent news for the future of cancer treatment, though the researchers admit there is still a long road ahead for this particular approach.
“The researchers now plan to program their bacteria to produce different drugs that cause stronger reactions in the tumors.” concludes Eureka Alert!
Much thanks to the zombies.
Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.