Cat Poop & Cancer: The Cure?

Hope springs from the most unlikely places. Believe it or not, cat poop could one day save someone from cancer.

Jump-Starting the Body’s Immune System

Cancer researchers David J. Bzik and Barbara Fox of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover say that a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii is their new hero. Normally found in a cat’s intestines, T. gondii is a worldwide, parasite that affects nearly 60 million Americans (who contract it by eating undercooked, contaminated meat, drinking contaminated water, or by direct contact with cat feces). Researchers believe the parasite could eventually lead to a cancer vaccine. They note that when T. gondii enters the human body, it jumpstarts the production of cancer fighting cells, like cytotoxic T cells, which make up part of the body’s natural immune system.

Ironing out the Kinks

This magic bullet against cancer in not without risks. As a single-celled parasite, T. gondii can cause a disease known as toxoplasmosis. Once inside the human body, T. gondii replicates and can cause flu-like symptoms. Patients with weakened immune systems can suffer brain, eye or organ damage. To solve this problem, researchers created CPS, a mutant T. gondii parasite that can’t replicate, making it a safe cancer vaccination. Tested on mice models with aggressive melanoma and ovarian cancer, CPS stimulates “amazingly effective immunotherapy against cancers, superior to anything seen before,” exclaimed Bzik. CPS’s ability to communicate in different and unique ways with the cancer and special cells of the immune system frees the immune system from cancer’s malignant controls.

Customizing Vaccines for Lifelong Immunity to Cancer

Researchers also expressed optimism in the idea of customizing a CPS vaccine to each patient and providing a life-long immunity to a given cancer. The process would involve introducing CPS in cells isolated from the patient and creating “Trojan Horse” cells with CPS that would be returned to the patient. This immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine would eradicate the specific cancer cells and prevent any future cancer recurrence. The mechanism of CPS needs more research before human trials can begin, but the potential for a cancer vaccine is very promising.

 

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89 comments

Luis Brantuas

Thanks for sharing!

Lis T.
Elisabeth T.1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Charmaine C.
Charmaine C.1 years ago

Wow! Extraordinary research.

kay jowett
Kay jowett1 years ago

I don't know what to make of this.

Vicky P.
Vicky P.1 years ago

thanks

Deborah Fobes
Deborah Fobes1 years ago

Is there no end to which these researchers will go to obtain government funding for their stupid experiments on animals?

Carol M.
caroline m.1 years ago

I agree with Dianne D when I read this article. I keep thinking of all the cats lives we would ruin just for their poop. We as humans can't be trusted to do the right thing.

Jane R.
Jane R.2 years ago

I don't think it's worth a shit. This will not cure cancer.

Gary Wells
Gary Wells2 years ago

It's great but I know from experience that you have to thoroughly remove the litter or it will scratch your teeth's enamel

Val M.
Val M.2 years ago

Thanks!