Scientists have created bacteria that feed cancer-fighting immune cells

Title: Fighting Cancer with Bacteria: The Innovative Approach of Feeding Immune Cells


Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with millions affected every year. The traditional treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can often be harsh and have significant side effects. In recent years, researchers have been exploring alternative approaches, such as immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer. In this blog post, we will explore a new method of improving immunotherapy by using bacteria to “feed” immune cells in the fight against cancer.

Key Points:

  1. The Promise of Immunotherapy:
    The immune system plays a crucial role in fighting various diseases, including cancer. Immunotherapy utilizes the immune system’s ability to recognize and fight cancer cells more efficiently by boosting the activity of immune cells or providing them with new tools to target cancer cells. Compared to traditional treatments, immunotherapy shows promise in reducing side effects and improving overall survival rates.
  2. Need for Improvement in Immunotherapy:
    While immunotherapy holds great promise, it is not always successful. One significant limitation is the metabolic inefficiency of immune cells. In other words, immune cells often struggle to generate energy to target and destroy cancer cells effectively. This limitation has prompted researchers to explore innovative strategies to revitalize immune cells.
  3. Bacteria as a Solution:
    Recent research has explored the use of bacteria to provide fuel to the metabolic engines of immune cells. Scientists have genetically engineered bacteria to produce cyclic-di-AMP (c-di-AMP), which is a molecule that can activate a cellular pathway vital for generating energy by immune cells. C-di-AMP acts by activating the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway, which triggers the synthesis of interferons, cytokines that play a critical role in the immune response.
  4. Improved Immune Cells:
    Animal studies have shown that feeding immune cells with c-di-AMP produced by genetically engineered bacteria leads to significant improvements in metabolic activity and immune function. These bacteria not only provide the extra fuel required for immune cell activation but also target cancer cells and augment the immune system’s response to cancer.
  5. Clinical Trial Advancements:
    Initial results from a Phase I clinical trial testing the safety and effectiveness of genetically engineered bacteria in feeding immune cells have demonstrated promising results. In the trial, patients with advanced solid tumors who have no treatment options remaining have received intravenous injections of the genetically-engineered bacteria, leading to measurable improvements in immune cell activity and positive therapeutic outcomes.
  6. New Treatment Options:
    Feeding immune cells with bacterial-produced c-di-AMP represents a new avenue for improving immunotherapy’s efficacy. The ability to provide immune cells with extra energy to target and destroy cancer cells more efficiently is an innovative approach that bears great promise for cancer treatment. Ongoing research in this field may lead to the development of new treatment options that could significantly reduce morbidity and mortality associated with cancer.


Using bacteria to feed immune cells represents a novel approach to improving immunotherapy and treating cancer more effectively. The ability to provide immune cells with the necessary energy to attack cancer cells more aggressively is a potentially transformational strategy that could have a significant impact on cancer treatment outcomes. While the concept is still relatively new, early results from clinical trials look promising, providing hope for the development of new treatment options that could significantly improve patients’ lives and provide a much-needed boost to the fight against cancer.