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Say Goodbye to Side Effects
The future of targeted therapy might be GMOs
Cool Science, So What?:
Researchers modified E.coli bacteria to release therapeutic proteins directly at the site of inflammation, reducing side effects from traditional medications.
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How can we limit the side effects of conventional drugs while maintaining their effectiveness in treating diseases? One solution is to develop smart microbes that release therapeutic payloads at the site of disease.
In the past, systemic administration of conventional drugs was the mainstay of therapy. However, this approach can lead to unintended side effects and general suppression of the immune system.
To approach this problem from a new angle, investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) engineered an E.coli strain to secrete proteins of therapeutic value into its surroundings.
Can engineering E.coli to secrete therapeutic proteins directly at the site of inflammation be as effective as systemic administration of conventional drugs in limiting the development of colitis in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?
The engineered E.coli was as efficacious as a systemically delivered antibody in limiting the development of colitis in a mouse model.
The programmable platform, called PROT3EcT, was able to secrete nanobodies that bind and inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines.
The engineered E.coli can also be outfitted to secrete antibodies that block toxins released by harmful strains of bacteria.
This approach could limit immunosuppression directly to where inflammation is present and reduce unintended side effects.
Imagine a world where we can treat diseases more effectively and with fewer side effects by engineering microbes to release therapeutic payloads directly at the site of disease. This could lead to improved patient outcomes and better quality of life for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease and other diseases that could benefit from this approach.