Genetically engineered bacteria could heal us from inside our cells

Bacteria began to live inside cells billions of years ago and performed essential functions. These endosymbionts could be created by genetic engineering.
Coloured scanning electron microscope (SEM), Bacillus subtilis by Steve LOWRY/SCIENCEPHOTO LIBRARY

Genetically engineered bacteria has been able to enter and live within mouse immune cells. They released proteins that changed the behavior of these cells. This work represents a first step in creating artificial endosymbionts, which could live within human cells. They can do everything, from treating cancer to guiding the healing of injured tissues.

Christopher Contag, Michigan State University, believes that this vision is the best for the long-term.

Other groups are also working on artificial endosymbionts. They believe this could be a way to help us.


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