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:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 ... ... of Pharmacy (SOP) alumni Hannah Randall, PharmD ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ... on guideline updates for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases during the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is proud ... and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds and ... the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. – ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is introducing a ... episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted on PBS ... in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve in ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Del. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... and advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of ... National Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ... introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad ... comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017 Halo Labs announces the European launch of their ... HORIZON at MIBio 2017 in Cambridge, U.K ... matter in biopharmaceutical samples with unprecedented speed and sensitivity while using ... Backgrounded Membrane Imaging. ... subvisible particle analysis system ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading global ... that its MyDario product is expected to appear on The Dr. Oz ... Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: http://www.doctoroz.com/page/where-watch-dr-oz-show ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The Dr. Oz Show kicked ... The segment features ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 22, 2017 AVACEN Medical (AVACEN) announced that ... successfully helping those with the widespread pain associated with ... Amanda in Essex, England commented, ... hair, experiencing no sleep at all, tremendous pain, with ... cannot recommend [the AVACEN 100] enough, how this has ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: