Gut response

A bio-containable genetically modified organism promises hope for sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease

Cathy Holding(
Jun 15, 2003

The intestinal mucosa has to discriminate between beneficial and pathogenic organisms within the gut, a process regulated in part by specific T cells that secrete immunosuppressive cytokines. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) mediates immunoregulatory mechanisms that control inflammatory responses in the gut, and evidence is accumulating that it may have a role in the pathology of Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, conditions collectively encompassed by the term "inflammatory bowel disease." Long-term administration of IL-10 to treat the disease is problematic because no effective delivery method has been available. In the June 16 Nature Biotechnology, Lothar Steidler and colleagues at Ghent University report a recombinant bacteria developed to produce IL-10 that also addresses the issue of containment of a live genetically modified organism following its release into the gut environment for therapeutic use (Nature Biotechnology, DOI:10.1038/nbt840, June 15, 2003).

Steidler et al. replaced the thymidylate synthase gene thyA in Lactococcus lactis...

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