Monday, November 21, 2016

Microbial Therapeutics

Bacteria are normally thought of as harmful or infectious. However, a growing field known as microbial therapeutics makes bacteria beneficial to humans. The bacteria would act like secret agents and release medicine only when instructed to. The release of the medicine to one particular area increases the efficiency of the medicine in comparison to a medicine given to the entire body. In order to induce the release of the medicine, a ultrasound machine will gently heat up the desired area. This therapy seems to most useful for cancer and diseases of the gut. The research done so far on mice has been able to show how the temperature increase causes the release of the drug and also once the temperature gets too high, like a fever, the bacteria no longer releases it. The bacteria then has an on and off switch.
Taking things a step further, the research has also shown that the newly engineered bacteria in the patient could also be programmed to self-destruct after leaving the body. The decrease in temperature from the inside the body to the outside world, could activate a genetic switch to destruct. One of studies have shown that the engineered bacteria can release a tumor destroying drug, hemolysin directed to the tumor. The mechanism of genetically modifying the bacteria involves two proteins, one from a virus, bacteriophage and one from Salmonella. Both of the proteins bind to the DNA to turn the genetic code on or off in response to temperature.

The idea that medicine can be dispensed from a bacteria is quite genius and the fact that it can also be temperature controlled is out of this world. The scientists working on this seem to have put a lot of time into every last detail of this creation and I cannot wait to see how it affects our world. I wonder how many different conditions this can help after more research is done. 


1 comment:

  1. I really think this is the direction medicine has to go in in the wake of antibiotic resistance, super bugs, and outbreaks of serious viruses. This method of administering medication would be so much more efficient and could be used to treat anything from infections to cancer.