The Arnold S. Leonard Cancer Research Fund supports cancer research at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Leonard and Dr. Saltzman have developed a genetic engineered bacteria to carry a lymphokine gene (human interleukin-2 gene), which stimulates the immune system. (This is like putting a battery on the immune system.) This organism will naturally track to the liver, spleen, lymph of the GI tract, and to tumors. It thus specifically targets tumors with tumor killing immune cells.
In a colon cancer model, we can reduce spread to the liver by 50% with one oral dose of this treatment system. If we use this system as a preventative agent, (by genetically engineering first and then giving the tumor) we have observed a 40% complete response in animals (no tumor whatsoever), and 10 times less tumor than the treatment phase in the rest of the animals. (This is like a vaccine.) It has its’ best effect with the least amount of tumor, as do most all other immune treatment programs. Also, in neuroblastoma and in osteogenic sarcoma models, similar reductions in tumor metastases were observed.
This treatment can be given orally with limited side effects. The treatment can be used to treat patients with spread disease, patients with tumor resections, to prevent spread of cancer, and for patient families with cancer histories to hopefully prevent tumors from occurring. We have completed FDA Approved Phase I Patient Trials, and Phase 2 Patient Trials are scheduled to begin in 3 US cancer clinics including MD Anderson in Texas.