Living Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Principal Investigator: Pamela Silver, Harvard Medical School
The gut is a relatively inaccessible organ, which is partly why inflammatory bowel disease is difficult to diagnose and treat. Here, we propose to use gut bacteria as sensors for inflammation. These bacteria are uniquely positioned to be our eyes in the gut, and can be the first to detect any signs of a problem. We have previously deployed such bacteria with genetic sensors that can detect and record the presence of certain inflammatory signals in the gut. Because of the modular nature of our designer bacteria, their sensors can be expanded to yield new biomarkers and further our understanding of gut inflammation. Such sensing bacteria will then be used as smart therapeutics, producing a drug where and when it is needed.