Delivering therapies with bio-engineered bacteria

Delivering therapies with bio-engineered bacteria

UW-Madison scientists have bio-engineered bacteria to deliver certain therapies to patients with heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other conditions.

In treating metabolic diseases like these, doctors will often rely on polypeptides as therapeutic agents. They include hormones, enzymes, antibodies and other small molecules. Despite their miniscule size, delivering these therapies to patients’ bodies can prove difficult.

According to an info sheet from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, ingesting these treatments doesn’t work, as the polypeptides are broken down through digestion or otherwise blocked from reaching the bloodstream. Therefore, these treatments are usually introduced directly to the bloodstream through an IV.

Still, that common method poses its own problem. Certain genetically engineered bacteria have been used to deliver the treatments to specific parts of the body, but some patients with weaker immune systems can be negatively affected.

Using experimental mouse models, researchers have demonstrated they can engineer bacteria to deliver therapeutics while avoiding substantial pollution of the bloodstream with the bacteria, the info sheet shows.

WARF is seeking commercial partners interested in licensing the bacteria to lower the risk of delivering therapeutic treatments.

See the info sheet: