Fighting tumours with magnetic bacteria

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Magnetic bacteria (grey) can squeeze through narrow intercellular spaces to cross the blood vessel wall and infiltrate tumours. (Visualisations: Yimo Yan / ETH Zurich)

Researchers at ETH Zurich are planning to use magnetic bacteria to fight cancerous tumours. They have now found a way for these microorganisms to effectively cross blood vessel walls and subsequently colonise a tumour.

Led by Simone Schürle, Professor of Responsive Biomedical Systems, the ETH Zurich researchers chose to work with bacteria that are naturally magnetic due to iron oxide particles they contain. These bacteria of the genus Magnetospirillum respond to magnetic fields and can be controlled by magnets from outside the body.

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Silvie Cuperus

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