October 21, 2021

UMASS Amherst researchers target tumors with intracellular precision

A non-toxic, bacteria-based system developed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst can detect when it is inside a cancer cell and then release its payload of therapeutic drugs directly into the cell. The work, published in “Nature Communications” today, could lead to effective, targeted therapies for currently untreatable cancers, such as liver or metastatic breast cancer.

The groundbreaking UMass Amherst work has demonstrated in the lab that not only can it easily enter cells, but it can specifically target cancer cells to deliver proteins (drugs) directly while leaving healthy cells alone. And once its protein payload is delivered, the bacteria dissipate and clear.

The Institute for Applied Life Sciences is the MLSC’s largest capital project, a $95 million investment, designed to catalyze applied and translational research projects, develop alliances with industry and government partners, and participate in the training of students for industry-relevant careers.