Quick Hits: Anthrax Could Soon Be Used to Fight Bladder Cancer

Researchers at Purdue University are using anthrax to treat bladder cancer in pet dogs, and it seems to be working.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease and Prevention, bladder cancer affects roughly 72,000 Americans a year. It’s one of the most expensive forms of cancer to treat, and the process is long and uncomfortable involving the patient’s bladder being filled with a cancer-killing agent for hours at a tie. A recent Purdue University article discussed a new method that could change the way bladder cancer is treated, and it involves anthrax. 

A team of Purdue researchers has discovered a way to combine the anthrax toxin with a growth factor to kill cancer cells and tumors in the bladder. Since the bladder contains its own protective layer, the organ is protected from the anthrax mixture during treatment, which takes just minutes to target and attack cancer cells. The solution has been tested on dogs with bladder cancer who have run out of other treatment options, and the agent successfully decreased the tumor size without causing side effects. The team thinks a similar treatment could be used to fight other types of cancer including lung and skin.