Magnets made by soil bacteria offer hope for breast and prostate cancer

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Scientists at Sheffield University have found a novel way of guiding anti-tumour viruses to their target.


(Robin McKie/ The Guardian) — Scientists are developing magnetically guided microscopic projectiles that can be injected into patients’ blood to attack breast, prostate and other tumours.

The project – led by researchers at Sheffield University – builds on progress in two key medical fields. The first involves viruses that specifically attack tumours. The second focuses on soil bacteria that manufacture magnets which they use to align themselves in the Earth’s magnetic field.


“The essence of this approach is straightforward: we are using bugs as drugs,” said Dr Munitta Muthana, one of the project’s leaders. “We are taking a class of viruses that naturally target tumours and are developing ways to help them reach internal tumours by exploiting bacteria that make magnets. It’s a twin approach and it has a lot of promise, we believe.” (…)

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