Bacteria in Cancer Therapy – Lactobacillus and Clostridium

Lactic Acid Bacteria: Bacteria With Health Benefits

Probiotics are living bacteria or other microorganisms which are beneficial to health when consumed. Probiotics can be helpful for gastrointestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are probiotics that have numerous potential therapeutic properties including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. Recent studies with in vitro cell culture clearly demonstrate the anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects of LAB. Scientific reports indicate that LAB cultures administered to animals inhibit liver, colon, bladder and mammary tumors. (Reference: Lactobacillus Molecular Biology: From Genomics to Probiotics ISBN: 978-1-904455-41-7)


The human intestine contains an huge collection of microorganisms. Scientific studies indicate that these gut microbes regulate energy harvest from the diet and participate in the peripheral body metabolism. Most probiotic strains are strains of Lactobacillus. The results of a recent evaluation of the role of probiotic Lactobacillus strains in natural infections in animals and humans indicate a promising future for coming generations of probiotics. Probiotic strains are being thoroughly characterized and it has been suggested that the best results may arise from mixes of probiotic strains with complementary characteristics, tailormade for different gastrointestinal diseases. In addition, strains of Lactobacillus may soon play a role as delivery systems for vaccines, immunoglobulins and other protein based therapies. (Reference: Lactobacillus Molecular Biology: From Genomics to Probiotics ISBN: 978-1-904455-41-7)

Clostridium in Anti-cancer Therapy

The bacterium Clostridium is being considered as an alternative strategies to selectively target and destroy cancer cells especially for the treatment of solid tumors. Scientific research has shown that various non-pathogenic strains of Clostridium have been shown to infiltrate and selectively replicate within solid tumors. Strains of Clostridium could in the future be used to deliver therapeutic proteins directly and specifically to the solid tumor. This potential has been demonstrated in preclinical models. Such tumor-specific therapy is important as the anti-cancer agents need to be targeted specifically to the tumor. However, bacterial systems for tumor-specific therapy has not yet undergone clinical trials. (Reference: Clostridia: Molecular Biology in the Post-genomic Era ISBN: 978-1-904455-38-7)