BOSTON, June 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at the Human Microbiology Institute (HMI) have discovered a novel bacteria in the saliva of children with acute leukemia that they say could be linked to deadly, drug-resistant pneumonia in patients with blood cancer.
In an abstract presented over the weekend at ASM Microbe 2016, the world's largest gathering of microbiologists, HMI researchers George and Victor Tetz detailed their discovery of the Paenibacillus sp. VT 400, a spore-forming bacterium with antibiotic- and chemotherapy-resistant genes that they say has never before been detected in humans.
"We are very excited by this new discovery," said Victor Tetz, head of HMI's scientific core. "We are seeing a strong potential in studying this bacteria for medicine, as it could be linked to the deadly pneumonias and with the development of the oncological condition itself. We should remember that this is a spore-forming bacteria, which is not susceptible to antibiotics."
The researchers said they found the novel species in the mouths of children with acute leukemia, and initial evidence in animal studies indicates it has the potential to trigger life-threatening infections in patients with compromised immune systems.
Acute leukemia accounts for more than 10,000 deaths a year, the majority from opportunistic infections by pathogens able to thrive in people with compromised immune systems.
In addition to studying the role of this new bacterium on lung infections, the researchers said they are studying whether it can play a role in other cancer processes.
"At the Human Microbiology Institute, we have made groundbreaking discoveries that establish new links between the human microbiome and cancer development and progression," said George Tetz, head research and development at HMI. "We believe that this latest discovery along with our ongoing research, has the potential to result in the development of novel new drugs to fight cancer."
About HMI: The Victor and George Tetz Human Microbiology Institute (www.hmi-us.com) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that has formed collaborations with a variety of universities, research organizations, hospitals, biotech companies, and other life science organizations to perform breakthrough research to identify novel drug targets and develop innovative technologies, with the ultimate goal of translating these discoveries into human health care.
For more information about George and Victor Tetz and HMI, please contact Max Smetannikov (MVG) at +1.212.330.8063 ext. 1001, Email
SOURCE Human Microbiology Institute