A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which is frequently found in cat poo and contaminated meat, could shrink back tumours caused by ovarian cancer. Scientists at Darmouth College in New Hampshire made the groundbreaking discovery while trialling a vaccine made from the proteins of the parasite on mice that had melanoma skin cancer and ovarian cancer.
It was found the parasite causes the immune system to attack cancerous cells and could be the key to fighting other major forms of cancer.
The findings, which are published in the journal PLOS Genetics, showed T. gondii could be used in the future to develop treatments for aggressive forms of cancer. "Our results demonstrate that specialised effector proteins secreted by T. gondii both before and after host cell invasion trigger and coordinately control the development of a potent antitumour response," the authors wrote.
"Consequently, tracking and understanding the host cell pathways manipulated by these T. gondii secreted effector proteins can reveal fundamental mechanisms controlling immunity to infection and can also identify relevant mammalian cell mechanisms as new targets for devising more effective therapies against highly aggressive solid tumours."
Meanwhile the University of Otago, New Zealand, recently released research indicating a direct link to alcohol and seven different kinds of cancer.
The review found that there is a "causal association" between alcohol and cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast.
The World Cancer Research Fund's (WCRF) science programme manager, Susannah Brown previously told IBTimes UK: "You can't offset damage so really if you want to reduce your risk of cancer from alcohol the only thing to do is to reduce your alcohol consumption and really if you want to eliminate risk of cancer from alcohol you have to consume none."