We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
ZeptoMetrix an Antylia scientific company

Download Mobile App




Bacteria Engineered to Detect Tumor DNA Could Seek and Destroy Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 Aug 2023
Print article
Image: As seen in a dish, Acinetobacter baylyi (green) bacteria surround clumps of colorectal cancer cells (Photo courtesy of UC San Diego)
Image: As seen in a dish, Acinetobacter baylyi (green) bacteria surround clumps of colorectal cancer cells (Photo courtesy of UC San Diego)

Tumors release their DNA into their surrounding environment, a phenomenon known as shedding. While various technologies can analyze purified DNA in laboratory settings, they fall short in detecting DNA in its released state. Although bacteria have been engineered for diverse diagnostic and therapeutic tasks, they cannot recognize specific DNA sequences and mutations outside of cells. Now, researchers have engineered bacteria that can identify tumor DNA in a live organism. This innovation, which successfully detected cancer in the colons of mice, has the potential for the creation of new biosensors to identify infections, cancers, and other diseases.

Under the new “Cellular Assay for Targeted CRISPR-discriminated Horizontal gene transfer,” or “CATCH,” strategy, scientists from the University of California San Diego (La Jolla, CA, USA) used CRISPR technology to engineer bacteria capable of assessing free-floating DNA sequences on a genomic level. These samples were then compared with predetermined cancerous sequences. The concept involved repurposing bacteria that are naturally present in the colon as biosensors, capable of detecting DNA released from colorectal tumors. The focus was on Acinetobacter baylyi, a bacterium in which the essential components for both acquiring DNA and utilizing CRISPR for analysis were identified.

The researchers proceeded to design, construct, and assess Acinetobacter baylyi as a sensor for detecting DNA from the KRAS gene, which is frequently mutated in various cancers. They programmed the bacterium with a CRISPR system to differentiate between mutant and normal (non-mutated) variants of the KRAS gene. Consequently, only bacteria that had incorporated mutant KRAS forms, as present in precancerous growths and cancers, would survive to indicate or respond to the disease. This research builds upon the concept of horizontal gene transfer, a method by which genetic material is exchanged among organisms in a manner distinct from traditional genetic inheritance. While horizontal gene transfer is commonly observed between bacteria, the researchers successfully adapted this concept from mammalian tumors and human cells into bacteria.

The researchers are presently refining their bacteria-based biosensor strategy, exploring new circuits and various bacterial species for detecting and treating human cancers and infections. Researchers believe that in the future, cellular interventions will surpass traditional medicinal approaches. A living bacterium capable of detecting DNA within the gastrointestinal tract holds remarkable potential as a sentinel for identifying and combating gastrointestinal cancers, along with numerous other malignancies.

“There is so much potential to engineer bacteria to prevent colorectal cancer, a tumor that is immersed in a stream of bacteria, that could help, or hinder, its progression,” said researcher Susan Woods.

Related Links:
UC San Diego

Platinum Member
COVID-19 Rapid Test
OSOM COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
Magnetic Bead Separation Modules
MAG and HEATMAG
POCT Fluorescent Immunoassay Analyzer
FIA Go
New
Gold Member
Hemoglobin Testing System
VARIANTnbs

Print article

Channels

Clinical Chemistry

view channel
Image: The 3D printed miniature ionizer is a key component of a mass spectrometer (Photo courtesy of MIT)

3D Printed Point-Of-Care Mass Spectrometer Outperforms State-Of-The-Art Models

Mass spectrometry is a precise technique for identifying the chemical components of a sample and has significant potential for monitoring chronic illness health states, such as measuring hormone levels... Read more

Hematology

view channel
Image: The CAPILLARYS 3 DBS devices have received U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance (Photo courtesy of Sebia)

Next Generation Instrument Screens for Hemoglobin Disorders in Newborns

Hemoglobinopathies, the most widespread inherited conditions globally, affect about 7% of the population as carriers, with 2.7% of newborns being born with these conditions. The spectrum of clinical manifestations... Read more

Immunology

view channel
Image: The novel test uses an existing diagnostic procedure as its basis to target the Epstein Barr Virus (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

Blood Test Measures Immune Response to Epstein-Barr Virus in MS Patients

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological condition for which there is currently no cure. It affects around three million people globally and ranks as the second most common cause of disability... Read more

Microbiology

view channel
Image: The T-SPOT.TB test is now paired with the Auto-Pure 2400 liquid handling platform for accurate TB testing (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Integrated Solution Ushers New Era of Automated Tuberculosis Testing

Tuberculosis (TB) is responsible for 1.3 million deaths every year, positioning it as one of the top killers globally due to a single infectious agent. In 2022, around 10.6 million people were diagnosed... Read more

Pathology

view channel
Image: Insulin proteins clumping together (Photo courtesy of Jacob Kæstel-Hansen)

AI Tool Detects Tiny Protein Clumps in Microscopy Images in Real-Time

Over 55 million individuals worldwide suffer from dementia-related diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. These conditions are caused by the clumping together of the smallest building blocks in the... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.