bims-mricoa Biomed News
on MRI contrast agents
Issue of 2022‒07‒24
one paper selected by
Merve Yavuz
Bilkent University

  1. Biochemistry. 2022 Jul 22.
      The gut microbiota produce specialized metabolites that are important for maintaining host health homeostasis. Hence, unstable production of these metabolites can contribute to diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. While fecal transplantation or dietary modification approaches can be used to correct the gut microbial community's metabolic output, this Perspective focuses on the use of engineered bacteria. We highlight recent advances in bacterial synthetic biology approaches for the treatment of colorectal cancer and systemic tumors and discuss the functionality and biochemical properties of novel containment approaches using hydrogel-based and electronic devices. Synthetic circuitry refinement and incorporation of novel functional modules have enabled more targeted detection of colonic tumors and delivery of anticancer compounds inside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as well as the design of tumor-homing bacteria capable of recruiting infiltrating T cells. Engineering challenges in these applications include the stability of the genetic circuits, long-term engraftment of the chosen chassis, and containment of the synthetic microbes' activity to the diseased tissues. Hydrogels are well-suited to the encapsulationo of living organisms due to their matrix structure and tunable porosity. The matrix structure allows a dried hydrogel to collect and contain GI contents. Engineered bacteria that sense GI tract inflammation or tumors and release bioactive metabolites to the targeted area can be encapsulated. Electronic devices can be enabled with additional measuring and data processing capabilities. We expect that engineered devices will become more important in the containment and delivery of synthetic microbes for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.