Bacterial-based cancer therapy (Bbct): Recent advances, current challenges, and future prospects for cancer immunotherapy

Kajal H. Gupta, Christina Nowicki, Eileena F. Giurini, Amanda L. Marzo, Andrew Zloza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Currently approximately 10 million people die each year due to cancer, and cancer is the cause of every sixth death worldwide. Tremendous efforts and progress have been made towards finding a cure for cancer. However, numerous challenges have been faced due to adverse effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and alternative cancer therapies, including toxicity to non-cancerous cells, the inability of drugs to reach deep tumor tissue, and the persistent problem of increasing drug resistance in tumor cells. These challenges have increased the demand for the development of alternative approaches with greater selectivity and effectiveness against tumor cells. Cancer immuno-therapy has made significant advancements towards eliminating cancer. Our understanding of can-cer-directed immune responses and the mechanisms through which immune cells invade tumors have extensively helped us in the development of new therapies. Among immunotherapies, the application of bacteria and bacterial-based products has promising potential to be used as treatments that combat cancer. Bacterial targeting of tumors has been developed as a unique therapeutic option that meets the ongoing challenges of cancer treatment. In comparison with other cancer ther-apeutics, bacterial-based therapies have capabilities for suppressing cancer. Bacteria are known to accumulate and proliferate in the tumor microenvironment and initiate antitumor immune re-sponses. We are currently well-informed regarding various methods by which bacteria can be ma-nipulated by simple genetic engineering or synthetic bioengineering to induce the production of anti-cancer drugs. Further, bacterial-based cancer therapy (BBCT) can be either used as a monother-apy or in combination with other anticancer therapies for better clinical outcomes. Here, we review recent advances, current challenges, and prospects of bacteria and bacterial products in the development of BBCTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1497
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • BBCT
  • Bacteria
  • Cancer
  • Immunotherapy
  • MBCT
  • Microbial
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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