Genetically engineered bacteria could heal us from inside our cells

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Billions of years ago, bacteria began living inside other cells and carrying out essential functions. Genetic engineering could create new types of these ‘endosymbionts’ Health 27 October 2021 By Michael Le Page Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bacillus subtilisSTEVE LOWRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Bacteria have been genetically engineered to enter and live inside mouse immune…

Genetically engineered bacteria could heal us from inside our cells
Share with us

Billions of years ago, bacteria began living inside other cells and carrying out essential functions. Genetic engineering could create new types of these ‘endosymbionts’



Health



27 October 2021

By Michael Le Page

Bacillus subtilis

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bacillus subtilis

STEVE LOWRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Bacteria have been genetically engineered to enter and live inside mouse immune cells, where they released proteins that altered the behaviour of those cells. The work is a first step towards creating “artificial endosymbionts” that could live inside some human body cells and do everything from guiding the regeneration of damaged tissues to treating cancer.

“That’s the vision in the long run,” says Christopher Contag at Michigan State University.

Several other groups are also developing artificial endosymbionts, which they say could allow us …

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