Aims of the project

One of the most important challenges in the field of modern medicine is to invent the efficacious anticancer therapy. The gene therapy appears to be the most effective strategy for metastasis remission without dangerous side effects, which are common disadvantages in the case of both radio and chemotherapy. Use of bare DNA particles is very inefficient, therefore new DNA delivery system is needed. The most common vectors used in genetic therapy are genetically altered viruses. However they generate problems that have not yet been solved. An integration into the host genome may lead to unpredictable side effects. Moreover this type of vector could cause acute immune response or symptoms of viral infection. Artificial systems of DNA or RNA delivery such as liposomes or alkaline polymers are characterized by low effectiveness and high toxicity.

The main aim of our project is to design and make a model system based on genetically modified Escherichia coli bacteria capable of entering into eukaryotic cells. This approach is a new alternative for previously established methods. It has most of advantages of previously known viral vectors and, importantly, it does not induce negative changes in the patient’s genome. The created bacterial system will be applied to two problems. The first one is to create special bacterial strain, which is able to conjugate with the mitochondrion within the cytoplasm. It will enable effective DNA delivery in scientific or therapeutic approaches. The second strategy is to induce apoptosis of tumor cells by means of the proapoptotic proteins secreted to the cytoplasm by bacteria that exist within the cell. And the second one is a main approach we have concentrated on in our project.

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