Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Diagnose crohn’s with an engineered organism

Researchers have engineered a bacterium with the necessary capabilities for diagnosing a human disease.

The engineered strain of the gut bacterium E. coli senses pH and glows when it encounters acidosis – an acidic condition that often occurs during flare-ups of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as colitis, ileitis and Crohn’s disease.

Researchers at the University of Colorado used a Rice University-created organism in a mouse model of Crohn’s disease to show acidosis activates a signature set of genes.

The corresponding genetic signature in humans has previously been observed during active inflammationin Crohn’s disease patients.

Study co-author Jeffrey Tabor, whose lab engineered the bacterium, said it could be reprogrammed to make colours that show up in the toilet instead of the fluorescent tags used in the CU School of Medicine experiments.

Image credit | Science Photo Library

Related Articles

Tech news: October

This month's top tech news stories

Under the microscope: chronic allograft dysfunction

What is chronic allograft dysfunction (CLAD)?

A range of pathologies that cause a transplanted lung to not achieve or maintain normal function. CLAD manifests as airflow restriction or obstruction.

Evolutionary changes in brain development

More than 3000 regions in the human genome are very different to those in the genome of any other mammals, including our closest primate relatives.

Turning normal cells into cancer cells

There is new evidence that normal human fibroblast cells can be converted to specific cancer cells using only factors that are commonly detected in actual human patients.