Synthetic biology advances cancer therapies

Date: 5th March 2019

Synthetic biology is fuelling a new breed of therapies available for disease treatment.  Aided by the completion of the human genome project and high throughput sequencing this advancement of synthetic biology techniques is becoming part of a clinician’s arsenal.

With cancer still being one of the top 3 causes of death worldwide, Timothy Lu and colleagues from MIT (USA) appraise the latest advancements in cancer therapies with the focus on synthetic biology and its role in the field. Gene circuit therapies for cancer using immune cells, nucleic acids and bacteria as chassis are discussed as current tools in this area.  The hope is to revolutionise cancer treatments where older methods clearly have not been the ultimate answer.  Discussions on the challenges and how these synthetic biology applications can be translated to the clinic provide useful insights into where the future lay for these therapies.