Moving Toward the Clinic

Our research in 2015 focuses on improving the power of our Salmonella cancer targeting therapy (“Bacteriotherapy”) as we prepare it for testing in the veterinary clinic, a necessary safety step before moving to the human clinic. Genetically modified, non-toxic Salmonella specifically targets and kills tumors but not normal, healthy cells. We are identifying and engineering Salmonella to efficiently destroy tumors with minimal side effects.

We are taking full advantage of the latest DNA, RNA, and Protein “Big Data” analysis techniques to study how Salmonella Bacteriotherapy exploits cancer cell physiology to target and kill them. Dr. Bakul Dhagat, our Raymond Freese postdoctoral fellow, is studying the interactions that occur between our cancer-targeting Salmonella and their target human cancer cells to improve the effectiveness of our cancer targeting therapy.

Scientists at the Cancer Research Center are additionally modifying Salmonella to serve as a delivery vehicle for drug chemotherapies that cannot specifically target tumors. Utilizing both known anti-cancer drugs and novel anti-cancer drugs currently being developed at Mizzou, our goal is to tailor the best combination chemotherapy to the tumor’s genetic profile – choosing the right therapeutic components that have demonstrated to most efficiently destroy the tumor being targeted. Clinical tests in prostate cancer models are testing the effectiveness of current and novel chemotherapies to slow and destroy tumors.

Working with Dr. Olusegun Fagbohun, the CRC recently made new molecules that specifically target our human cancer tissue. We plan to refine this targeting method to specifically target the cancer stem cells in tumors. By specifically targeting cancer stem cells, we can use our therapy to deliver concentrated anti-cancer drug doses to kill the cancer cells most likely to evade cancer treatment and regrow the tumor – the cancer stem cells.

Finally, in order to demonstrate the real-world safety and efficacy of our cancer-destroying Salmonella, we are working with Drs. Jeffrey Bryan and Carolyn Henry at with the Mizzou Veterinary Oncology department to expand our animal testing to include canine (dog) cancer models. In 2015 we will evaluate how efficiently Salmonella targets and kills cancers in dogs. We will then target the cancer that Salmonella is most effective against and prepare for clinical testing of our Salmonella Bacteriotherapy in dogs diagnosed at the Mizzou Veterinary clinic. This will enable us to determine therapeutically effective dosage levels in mammals similar in size to human patients.

Dr. Robert A. Kazmierczak, Senior Investigator, Cancer Research Center

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