A team of scientists affiliated with the University of California in San Diego, United States, have discovered and isolated a marine bacteria that can potentially cure a variety of cancers, including an aggressive brain one.
“We saw right away—wow, this looks really good,” says William Fenical, a chemist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego upon discovering the Salinispora tropica bacteria. “And then we started thinking, What do we do now? How are we going to make sure this gets developed?”
The Salinispora tropica—a microbe found on the ocean floor in the Bahamas—was tested on a line of difficult-to-kill human colon cancer cells, and it performed very well. One of the compounds studied as a potential anticancer agent has also been tested on a patient suffering from glioblastoma, one of the most lethal brain cancers. The woman received doses of the drug on a regular basis, and MRI showed that the tumor shrunk to the point of being unmeasurable. The drug is now in the final months of its phase three trial and could be on the market in a year or two. The drug is also in its phase one trial as a treatment for the most common brainstem tumor in children.