- Open Access
Viruses, bacteria, and parasites – oh my! a resurgence of interest in microbial-based therapy for cancer
© The Author(s). 2018
- Received: 24 October 2017
- Accepted: 18 December 2017
- Published: 8 January 2018
As infections and cancer are two of the most common maladies affecting human beings, a concerted effort is needed to better understand their potential interactions and to further explore their use in microbial-based cancer treatments. Studies focusing on the interaction between pathogens and cancer began over 4000 years ago, but therapeutic application of pathogens has often been bypassed as other cancer therapies have gained wider interest. To many, the field of microbial-based cancer treatment may feel antiquated and already sufficiently explored. However, closer examination reveals that our current knowledge is but a series of dim reflections amongst many yet-unexplored shadows. Particularly, with our increased understanding of pathogen entry, replication, and senescence, coupled with our quickly increasing knowledge regarding cancer initiation, growth, and metastasis, and capped by our realization of the complexity and plasticity of the immune response, we are just now beginning to realize the vastness of the undiscovered area encompassing this field. At the same time, we are now uniquely poised with gained knowledge and discovered tools to join together across disciplines, uncover new positive and negative interactions between pathogens and cancer, and make important progress toward saving cancer patient lives.
- Microbial-based cancer treatment
- Oncogenic virus
- Oncolytic virus
I thank the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) and the Department of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) for support that allowed the production of this commentary.
This commentary was made possible in part by support from NCI P30CA72720 to Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
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A.Z. wrote the manuscript and approved the final version.
Andrew Zloza, MD, PhD, is the Section Chief of Surgical Oncology Research and the founding Faculty Director of the Immune Monitoring Shared Resource at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Zloza’s laboratory focuses on defining the mechanisms by which infections positively and negatively alter anti-tumor immune responses in cancer patients. Towards this effort his laboratory has developed novel patient-derived xenograft mouse models and nanotechnology, funded by government grants and industry partners. Based on his research efforts focusing on understanding the interplay between infections and cancer, Dr. Zloza has received the Chambers-Ebioscience Memorial Award from the American Association of Immunologists (2015) and a Junior Faculty Award at the 3rd Annual Immuno-Oncology Young Investigator’s Forum (2017).
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