Research ArticleCANCER

Bacteria-triggered tumor-specific thrombosis to enable potent photothermal immunotherapy of cancer

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Science Advances  14 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 33, eaba3546
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3546


We discovered that attenuated Salmonella after intravenous injection would proliferate within various types of solid tumors but show rapid clearance in normal organs, without rendering notable toxicity. Bacteria-induced inflammation would trigger thrombosis in the infected tumors by destroying tumor blood vessels. Six types of tested tumors would all turn into darkened color with strong near-infrared absorbance, as observed by photoacoustic imaging. Under laser irradiation, those bacterial-infected tumors would be effectively ablated. Because of the immune-stimulation function, such bacteria-based photothermal therapy (PTT) would subsequently trigger antitumor immune responses, which could be further enhanced by immune checkpoint blockade to effectively suppress the growth of abscopal tumors. A robust immune memory effect to reject rechallenged tumors is also observed after bacteria-based PTT. Our work demonstrates that bacteria by themselves could act as a tumor-specific PTT agent to enable photoimmunotherapy cancer therapy to inhibit tumor metastasis and recurrence.

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