A Specific Mechanosensitive Bacterial Tumor Therapy – Microbials 2016


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


This project is one of the five winners of the call 2016 «Microbials – Direct Use of Micro-Organisms».

Project partners: EPFL, Global Health Institute, Lausanne


Projekt-Nr.: GRS-057/16
Förderbeitrag: CHF 374'000
davon Löhne: CHF 295'000
Bewilligung: 02.11.2016
Dauer: 05.2017 - 04.2020
Handlungsfeld: Microbials, seit 2016

Microbial Treatment of Solid Tumors – Microbials 2016
Projekt nummerGRS-059/16 BudgetCHF 400'000 VerantwortlichSimon Ittig Laufzeit01.2017 - 12.2018

Effector delivery by Contractile Injection Machines – Microbials 2016
Projekt nummerGRS-058/16 BudgetCHF 352'000 VerantwortlichMartin Pilhofer Laufzeit01.2017 - 12.2019

A Specific Mechanosensitive Bacterial Tumor Therapy – Microbials 2016
Projekt nummerGRS-057/16 BudgetCHF 374'000 VerantwortlichAlexandre Persat Laufzeit05.2017 - 04.2020

Microorganism-based Biosensor – Microbials 2016
Projekt nummerGRS-056/16 BudgetCHF 450'000 VerantwortlichJan Wendelin Stark Laufzeit01.2017 - 12.2019

Therapeutic Fungi – Microbials 2016
Projekt nummerGRS-055/16 BudgetCHF 480'000 VerantwortlichBenjamin Marsland Laufzeit01.2017 - 01.2020


Dr. Alexandre Persat, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, EPFL SV GHI, Station 19, 1015 Lausanne (Schweiz), alexandre.notexisting@nodomain.compersat@epfl.notexisting@nodomain.comch


With the advent of genome engineering and synthetic biology, we can now optimize and assemble sensing and effecting systems into cellular machines that perform a variety of complex tasks in a defined context. Consequently, engineering and programming bacteria into “smart therapeutics” that patrol a host to detect and treat diseases now appears as a realistic endeavor. Such strategies may help us treat a variety of conditions including cancer, infectious diseases or immune disorders.

However, a major obstacle in developing successful bacterial therapies is the lack of specificity of their action as they may target both healthy and sick tissues. Here, we propose to design and engineer a mechanosensitive bacterial therapy (mBaT), a specific contact-dependent bacterial cargo system able to inject effector proteins into host cells. We aim to specifically use our system to target and eradicate cancer cells among healthy tissue. To achieve this, we will assemble multiple sensing and effecting components allowing a bacterium to identify and eradicate tumor cells by specific translocation of toxic effectors. Altogether, mBaTs will constitute a highly specific cell-based treatment of tumors.

Was ist das Besondere an diesem Projekt?

With mBaTs, our hope is to provide the most specific, rapid and efficient method of tumor treatment. Unlike chemotherapy, bacteria have the ability to navigate within tissue to efficiently access the poorly vascularized tumors, thereby improving treatment delivery. A tumor-specific mechanosensitive bacterial treatment will thus provide a fully autonomous tumour treatment system without side effects.

mBaTs will potentially provide a new tool for a broad range of applications. In the future we plan on further developing these as a general cargo system that can deliver biologics in a variety of contexts. For example, refining sensing components will allow for the search and destruction of circulating tumor cells as mBaT patrol the vasculature of terminally-ill patients, thereby enabling its use as a last resort cancer treatment. Similarly, we can anticipate that mBaT can target any type of cell or tissue with distinctive biochemical surface signature. Finally, mBaTs provide a new tool to the synthetic biology community by providing a system that responds to the mechanics of the environment.


Das Projekt startet im Mai 2016.


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EPFL, Microbial Mechanics Lab

Am Projekt beteiligte Personen

Alexandre Persat, project leader

Letzte Aktualisierung dieser Projektdarstellung