Salmon, known for its nutritional richness, is a coveted food. A new study suggests that even a bacterial strain known to infect the fish comes with benefits, specially for cancer patients. The findings have been published in Nature Communications.
A bacterial strain known to cause plagues of illness in salmon is being hailed as some sort of panacea to tumours. According to some researchers, the bacteria behind Redmouth disease, Yersinia ruckeri, might help stop the propagation of tumour cells; the microorganism’s toxins allegedly play a key role.
The Redmouth disease does great damage to salmon populations from all waters. The scientists who came up with the theory claim having found that the same mechanism behind the deadly disease could be used as a method to combat cancerous growths.
Y. ruckeri attacks cells by giving off a specialised enzyme, the Afp18. The experiments of the researchers showed that the latter acted as a toxin in the cells of zebra fish embryos. Afp18 specifically acts on a switch protein called RhoA. The enzyme deactivates RhoA. The latter has an important influence on building and breaking down actin filaments which are essential components of the process of cell division that contribute to the spread of tumour.
Upon seeing the effect of the toxin on the fish, the scientists thought it might influence cancer cells in similar ways.
These results are only preliminary. The researchers yet have to isolate the toxin and protect healthy cells from its presence.