Aug 14, 2023

Engineering Bacteria into Tumor-Detecting Biosensors

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

Additionally, the strategy only works for mutations that have already been defined. Not all tumors have the same mutations, and some cancers manifest a wide array of mutations, but “it happens that colorectal cancer is one of those that has a small set of very common mutations,” said Cooper.

The technique must also translate to humans, though Cooper pointed out, “This is one of those cases where scaling up to humans might actually help it because everything is bigger, so there’s more target DNA and more biosensors you can fit into the gut.”

If further developed and approved for human use, the engineered bacterial biosensors could be used for other applications, such as rapid diagnosis of gut infections. Additionally, shifting from a detection model to a therapeutic mode, the same bacteria could be engineered to release anti-tumor agents upon detecting tumor DNA, rather than sending a signal that they’ve detected it.

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