Navigation Links
Building 'smart' cell-based therapies
Date:4/17/2014

A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other sites of disease.

Engineering cell-based, biological devices that monitor and modify human physiology is a promising frontier in clinical synthetic biology. However, no existing technology enabled bioengineers to build such devices that sense a patient's physiological state and respond in a customized fashion.

"The project addressed a key gap in the synthetic biology toolbox," says Joshua Leonard, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. "There was no way to engineer cells in a manner that allowed them to sense key pieces of information about their environment, which could indicate whether the engineered cell is in healthy tissue or sitting next to a tumor."

Funded by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research is available to read online in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology.

Leonard's team worked for nearly four years to close this gap. The end result is a protein biosensor that sits on the surface of a cell and can be programmed to sense specific external factors. For example, the engineered cell could detect big, soluble protein molecules that indicate that it's next to a tumor. When the biosensor detects such a factor, it sends a signal into the engineered cell's nucleus to activate a gene expression program, such as the production of tumor-killing proteins or chemicals. Since this toxic program would be activated only near tumor cells, such an approach could minimize side effects as well as improve therapeutic benefits.

Called a Modular Extracellular Sensor Architecture (MESA), the biosensor platform is completely self-contained so that several different biosensors can be present in a single cell without interfering with one another, allowing bioengineers to build increasingly sophisticated functional programs. The platform is also highly modular, enabling the biosensors to be customized to recognize factors of relevance to various patients' needs.

"By linking the output of these biosensors to genetic programs, one can build in a certain logical command, such as 'turn the output gene on when you sense this factor but not that factor,'" Leonard explains. "In that way, you could program a cell-based therapy to specify which cells it should kill."

Leonard says doctors could potentially collect immune cells from a patient's body, engineer the cells using MESA, and put them back into the patient. From there, the cells would do the work of detecting cancer or the disease they are designed to identify.

This is the first completely ground-up engineering of a receptor, and now that the core technology has been established, Leonard's team is moving forward to program cells to recognize specific tumor-associated factors. They are also looking toward applications beyond advanced cell-based therapies.

"This seems to be what always happens in synthetic biology," he says. "When you start building something, you first learn a lot about the system that you are trying to modify. In the end, you come up with not only useful applications but tools that facilitate basic science."


'/>"/>

Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Body Building, Diet Supplements Linked to Liver Damage: Study
2. Germ Culprits in Moldy, Water-Damaged Buildings Identified
3. Building a better Rift Valley fever vaccine
4. Heuer M.D. Research Announces CardiaShred™ - First Medical Doctor Formulated, Heart Healthy Weight Loss, Energy and Lean Muscle Building Supplement
5. Kessler Foundation presents Brain Injury: From Research to Rebuilding Lives on Sept. 27-28
6. Rebuilding a whole heart for children born with only half of 1
7. UC research explores relationship-building program for male same-sex couples
8. Dental Marketing Formula.com has been Featured in The LA Daily News for their Specialized Practice Building Solutions in the Dental Industry
9. Steering stem cells to become 2 different building blocks for new blood vessels
10. Rebuilding blood vessels through gene therapy
11. Visual Impact Muscle Building: Review Examining Rusty Moore's Training Program Released By DietsAndFitnessGuides.com
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... 2017 , ... According to the American Cancer Society , the average ... 95%. Once the cancer spreads to other organs, bones, or lymph nodes, however, the ... avoid this latter group, tune in to Lifestyle Magazine on April 9, ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... March 27, 2017 , ... Golden Triangle Emergency ... on Monday, April 3rd to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the facility. The ... to celebrate two great years while also familiarizing themselves with the facility. , ...
(Date:3/25/2017)... ... March 25, 2017 , ... Getting earned media coverage meaningful for Garden ... , All through the year, Garden Media aims to provide material helpful to clients’ ... and pitching client’s key messages to gain coveted media placements, Garden Media ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... March 24, 2017 ... ... global scale; from third world countries to hospitals in the United States, it’s ... a conversation on the current obstacles facing infection prevention and offers strategies for ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... The iaedp Foundation, the premier provider of educational ... those suffering from the full spectrum of disordered eating, announced today that the 2017 ... nearly all 50 states and several countries converged on the Green Valley Resort in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Impax Laboratories, Inc. ... appointed Paul M. Bisaro as Impax,s President ... Company,s Board, effective March 27, 2017. Mr. Bisaro will ... as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer since December ... generic and branded pharmaceutical experience, Mr. Bisaro, 56, is ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017 Invivotek, LLC, a Genesis Biotechnology Group ... pharmacology contract research organization (CRO), announced the completion ... expanded preclinical research facility in Hamilton, New ... renewable energy source to reduce costs and lessen the ... Genesis Solar Farm follows Invivotek,s recent expansion from a ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017  Zymo Research ... and Hamilton Robotics, Inc., who designs, manufactures ... ongoing collaboration that teams Zymo Research,s DNA ... and DNA extraction products with Hamilton,s high-throughput ... optimized methods for microbiomics and RNA isolation ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: