Cambridge, MA. – Would you ingest genetically modified (GM) e.coli to help cure a disease? Would you swallow GM bacteria if you knew it could help cure your cancer? Synlogic, a synthetic biology startup company in Massachusetts and Ernest Pharmaceuticals are working to bring both solutions to your doorstep.
Eating healthy-gut bacteria is nothing new – probiotics and yogurt containing healthy bacteria have an estimated market worth around $3.5 Billion. However Synlogic and Ernest are working towards a custom and more precise process to help combat whatever ailment you’re currently fighting. Currently, Synlogic, Ernest and companies like them are awaiting an FDA green light on 8-10 different genetically modified ‘bugs’ to start clinical trials. The EPA is also involved as a potential approver due to the need to understand what impact the environment may have after these GM pills are through our systems and into waste processing plants.
Read more about the details of these efforts in the latest MIT Technology Review here.
Why this matters –
As we’ve recently reported, precision medicine and genomic testing are on the rise, and it is reaching into many disease states. This is just another example of treating a disease with a personal, custom approach. These advances may help find new ways to reduce side effects of chemotherapy drugs by delivering through a pill, bacterial binding agents or help people digest foods, such as gluten, that they may have an intolerance with in their body. It will be interesting to watch how quickly the public accepts the new approach and how the process will be regulated.