Researchers at the University of California San Diego and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a strategy for using synthetic biology in therapeutics. The approach enables continual production and release of drugs at disease sites in mice while simultaneously limiting the size, over time, of the populations of bacteria engineered to produce the drugs. The findings are published in the July 20 online issue of Nature.
UC San Diego researchers led by Jeff Hasty, a professor of bioengineering and biology, engineered a clinically relevant bacterium to produce cancer drugs and then self-destruct and release the drugs at the site of tumors. The team then transferred the bacterial therapy to their MIT collaborators for testing in an animal model of colorectal metastasis. The design of the therapy represents a culmination of four previous Nature papers from the UC San Diego group that describe the systematic development of engineered genetic clocks and synchronization. Over the years, the researchers have employed a broad approach that spans the scales of synthetic biology,
The new study offers a therapeutic approach that minimizes damage to surrounding cells.
“In synthetic biology, one goal of therapeutics is to target disease sites and minimize damage,” said UC San Diego bioengineering and biology professor Jeff Hasty. He wondered if a genetic “kill” circuit could be engineered to control a population of bacteria in vivo, thus minimizing their growth. “We also wanted to deliver a significant therapeutic payload to the disease site.”
In order to achieve this, he and his team synchronized the bacteria to release bursts of known cancer drugs when a bacterial colony self-destructs within the tumor environment. The use of bacteria to deliver cancer drugs in vivo is enticing because conventional chemotherapy doesn’t always reach the inner regions of a tumor, but bacteria can colonize there. Importantly, the researchers observed that the combination of chemotherapy and the gene products produced by the bacterial circuit consistently reduced tumor size.
“The new work by Jeff Hasty and team is a brilliant demonstration of how theory in synthetic biology can lead to clinically meaningful advances,” said Jim Collins, a professor at MIT who is known as a founder of the field of synthetic biology. “Over a decade ago during the early days of the field, Jeff developed a theoretical framework for synchronizing cellular processes across a community of cells. Now his team has shown experimentally how one can harness such effects to create a novel, clinically viable therapeutic approach.”
Limiting the bacterial population
In order to observe the bacterial population dynamics, the researchers designed custom microfluidic devices for careful testing before investigations in animal disease models. Consistent with the engineering design, they observed cycling of the bacterial population that successfully limits overall growth while simultaneously enabling production and release of encoded cargo. When the bacteria were equipped with a gene that drives production of a therapeutic, the synchronized lysis of the bacterial colony was shown to kill human cancer cells. It is the first engineered gene circuit in synthetic biology to achieve these objectives.
The Latest on: Synthetic biology
via Google News
The Latest on: Synthetic biology
- The Genome Foundry ushers Canada into the era of automated genetic engineering on February 19, 2019 at 9:18 am
You need more computational power and you need more automation,” says Vincent Martin, professor of biology and co-director of Concordia’s Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology. Testing hundreds of gene... […]
- In Vitro Impossible on February 18, 2019 at 4:50 am
In a wide range of biological interventions, from synthetic biology through tissue engineering and all the way up to neuroengineering, what I find really problematic is what I refer to as “the illusio... […]
- VC Daily: Inside the (Subscription) Box | Bold Bet on Synthetic Biology’s Upstarts on February 14, 2019 at 5:46 am
Good day. Johnson & Johnson’s $3.4 billion cash deal to buy Auris Health Inc., the largest acquisition of a venture-backed medical-device company, could have far-reaching effects across the industry. ... […]
- Synthetic Biology Market Size by 2025: Top Players- Amyris, DuPont, GenScript USA, Intrexon, Novozymes, Royal DSM on February 14, 2019 at 3:30 am
This report studies the global market size of Synthetic Biology in key regions like North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America and Middle East & Africa, focuses on the consumption of ... […]
- Mack’s Take: Labs Aim to Power Synthetic Biology Startups on February 13, 2019 at 8:52 pm
The excitement over the promise of synthetic biology has drawn considerable investor attention in recent years. A new generation of scientists is using high-powered tools like artificial intelligence ... […]
- Synthetic Biology Market Growing Technology, Trends and Business Opportunities by 2025 on February 13, 2019 at 2:17 am
Feb 13, 2019 (Heraldkeeper via COMTEX) -- The Synthetic Biology Market report aims to provide a 360-degree view of the market in terms of cutting-edge technology, key developments, drivers, restraints ... […]
- Biology by Design: Applying Gigabases of DNA to Bioengineering on February 8, 2019 at 2:01 pm
Join us for this GEN webinar, where you will discover new ways DNA synthesis can be applied to bioengineering, in addition to learning about innovative synthetic biology applications using automation ... […]
- IDT supports innovative synthetic biology start-ups with grant program on February 8, 2019 at 3:33 am
Demonstrating its commitment to advocating for synthetic biology research, Integrated DNA Technologies’ (IDT) Synthetic Biology Start-up Grant Program has once again benefited innovative start-ups in ... […]
- Molecular Biology Enzymes, Kits & Reagents Market Qualitative Insights, Key Enhancement, Share Forecasted To 2027 on February 7, 2019 at 11:32 pm
Based on application, the global target market is segmented based on polymerase chain reaction, sequencing, cloning, epigenetics, restriction digestion, and synthetic biology. The polymerase chain rea... […]
- Partnering to scale synthetic biology STEM education for K12 on February 7, 2019 at 12:20 am
Amino Labs, a leading developer of practice-based synthetic biology (syn-bio) technologies, announced it has partnered with MindFuel, a leading organization in educational science, technology, enginee... […]
via Bing News