Scientists at Glasgow University have revealed that Salmonella, the bacteria known for causing food poisoning, could be used to cure cancer patients.
They discovered how a protein in the bug manipulates what happens in the body's cells, causing them to die off- that could be directed to kill cancerous cells, potentially curing the disease.
In future it is hoped that special forms of salmonella could be injected into patients to destroy their cancer, before they are treated with antibiotics to rid them of any remaining bacteria, reports the Scotsman.
Cancer experts have welcomed the research, which could, after extensive testing, lead to new treatments in the next five to ten years.
Dr Donal Wall, who worked on the study, said the team had discovered how salmonella uses an enzyme, known as caspase-3, to spread inflammation in the body.
A protein in the bacteria called SipA causes the enzyme to proliferate, prompting cell death.
The scientists, whose work was funded by medical research charity Tenovus Scotland, hope this process could be amplified and directed at cancerous cells, with the bacteria effectively killing the tumours.