Reengineering a food poisoning microbe to carry medicines and vaccines
have used genetic engineering to tame one of the most deadly food
poisoning microbes and turn it into a potential new way of giving
patients medicine and vaccines in pills rather than injections. The
study is in the current issue of ACS’ Molecular Pharmaceutics, a bi-monthly journal.
The scientists describe development of a new strain of Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria that normally cause food poisoning, but which have been genetically engineered to be harmless. Instead of causing disease, the new microbes can be loaded with medicine or vaccine, and deliver that beneficial cargo by “infecting” cells. After entering cells, the bacteria burst and die, leading to Pouton’s term “suicidal strain” for the microbes. The researchers demonstrated that engineered bacteria containing a test protein could successfully penetrate a group of intestinal cells grown in the lab and deliver the protein inside the cells while leaving the cells unharmed. The findings suggest that the approach could potentially work in humans, the researchers say.
-- News release courtesy of American Chemical Society
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