Use of genetically modified bacteria for drug delivery in humans: Revisiting the safety aspect

Wegmann, Udo, Carvalho, Ana Lucia, Stocks, Martin and Carding, Simon R. (2017) Use of genetically modified bacteria for drug delivery in humans: Revisiting the safety aspect. Scientific Reports, 7. ISSN 2045-2322

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The use of live, genetically modified bacteria as delivery vehicles for biologics is of considerable interest scientifically and has attracted significant commercial investment. We have pioneered the use of the commensal gut bacterium Bacteroides ovatus for the oral delivery of therapeutics to the gastrointestinal tract. Here we report on our investigations of the biological safety of engineered B. ovatus bacteria that includes the use of thymineless death as a containment strategy and the potential for the spread of transgenes in vivo in the mammalian gastrointestinal tract. We demonstrate the ability of GM-strains of Bacteroides to survive thymine starvation and overcome it through the exchange of genetic material. We also provide evidence for horizontal gene transfer in the mammalian gastrointestinal tract resulting in transgene-carrying wild type bacteria. These findings sound a strong note of caution on the employment of live genetically modified bacteria for the delivery of biologics.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Gastroenterology and Gut Biology
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2017 05:07
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 02:43
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-02591-6

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