Mark Tangney APEX

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Mark Tangney





Bacteria and Cancer:

My lab investigates associations between bacteria and cancer, from a number of aspects.

Work in our lab has shown that tumours support the growth of multiple bacterial species. Various bacteria preferentially colonise and proliferate within tumours following systemic administration, as demonstrated by ourselves and others in preclinical tumour models.

Furthermore, we reported in 2014 the presence of a wide range of bacteria naturally in patient breast tumours, and the concept of a ‘Tumour Microbiome’ was conceived. The ability to modify existing microbiota at different sites presents enormous potential for local or indirect management of various diseases.

Associations between the nature of cancer patients’ gut microbiota and tumour progression have been established by others. My group is currently developing research on potential influences of the GIT microbiome on the outcome of cancer therapies.


Exploitation in therapy and diagnosis:

Bacterial tumour-targeting technology is based on the bacterium to selectively survive and replicate within solid tumours, growing to high concentrations, where they can ‘pump out’ biomolecules locally.

We are investigating exploitation of our tumour microbiome findings for potential use in the context of

– Biomarkers

– Effects on cancer treatment e.g. Lehouritis et al. Local bacteria affect the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs. Sci Rep 2015

– Exploitation in therapy


Synthetic Biology:

We engage in bioengineering of next generation medical products. The group uses modern DNA engineering to induce bacterial cells to make novel biomolecules, for production in vivo (in situ production; e.g. therapeutics) or deployed in vitro (as diagnostics).


See publications at


Contact details: E-mail:; Tel: +353 21 4905709