Synthetic biology is seeing rapid advances, but the medical applications have thus far remained largely elusive. But now researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (HMS) have developed a tool that can track specific populations of bacteria in the gut of living organisms and document population changes over time.
"Microbiome" has become a health and wellness buzzword, implicated as a contributing factor in conditions ranging from diabetes and obesity to gastrointestinal disease, autoimmune diseases and even autism. But the tools scientists use to cultivate bacteria have changed little over the past century, says Peter Christey, founder and CEO of San Carlos, Calif.-based startup General Automation Lab Technologies Inc. (GALT). His firm is hoping to change that with a high-throughput system of hugely parallel arrays and high-resolution images of complex samples that will revolutionize the way microbiology laboratories process genetic material.
BOSTON – The gut microbiome and its prospects for drug development have been matters of debate for a while, sharpened by the high-profile phase II failure of Seres Therapeutics Inc.'s candidate, SER-109, in the summer of 2016. A panel at Biopharm America surveyed the space in light of developments since the stumble with that candidate, composed of about 50 species of firmicutes spores derived from stool specimens from healthy donors, against recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.