Viruses, bacteria, and parasites – oh my! a resurgence of interest in microbial-based therapy for cancer

Andrew Zloza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


As infections and cancer are two of the most common maladies affecting human beings, a concerted effort is needed to better understand their potential interactions and to further explore their use in microbial-based cancer treatments. Studies focusing on the interaction between pathogens and cancer began over 4000 years ago, but therapeutic application of pathogens has often been bypassed as other cancer therapies have gained wider interest. To many, the field of microbial-based cancer treatment may feel antiquated and already sufficiently explored. However, closer examination reveals that our current knowledge is but a series of dim reflections amongst many yet-unexplored shadows. Particularly, with our increased understanding of pathogen entry, replication, and senescence, coupled with our quickly increasing knowledge regarding cancer initiation, growth, and metastasis, and capped by our realization of the complexity and plasticity of the immune response, we are just now beginning to realize the vastness of the undiscovered area encompassing this field. At the same time, we are now uniquely poised with gained knowledge and discovered tools to join together across disciplines, uncover new positive and negative interactions between pathogens and cancer, and make important progress toward saving cancer patient lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunotherapy
  • Microbial-based cancer treatment
  • Oncogenic virus
  • Oncolytic virus
  • Pathogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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