A number of companies are working toward using genetically modified bacteria to treat disease, NPR reports.
"This is a really exciting new modality that allows us to think about therapies in a new way and really look at diseases in a whole new way: A living medicine that can respond to its environment," Caroline Kurtz, a researcher at Synlogic, tells NPR.
Synlogic, for instance, is developing modified E. coli to treat phenylketonuria, it adds. In January, Kurtz and her colleagues reported in Science Translational Medicine that their engineered E. coli appeared to work in a mouse model of disease and was tolerated by healthy human volunteers. NPR reports they are now testing it in phenylketonuria patients.
Other firms like Actobio Therapeutics, Oragenics, and Osel are exploring the use of modified bacteria to treat type 1 diabetes, chemotherapy-induced mouth sores, and HIV infection, respectively, it adds.