December 6, 2023

MIT Advances Toward “Living Biotherapeutics” To Treat Gastrointestinal Diseases

If germs are also added to the service, the product self-assembles into a coating on individual bacterial cells. One of the strains that the scientists used to test the finish is Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. Bacteria with this type of protective finishing could also be beneficial for agricultural applications such as assisting to make crops more stress-tolerant. Another possible application for the finishing is to use it to protect microbes that are used as vaccines. Finish it with a protective layer might eliminate the requirement for cold storage and make circulation simpler, Furst states.

In a study published on December 10, 2021, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the researchers revealed they might use the finish on a strain of E. coli in addition to another types that might aid in digestion of plant starches. The coating could be used to lots of other types too, they state.
” We believe this finish might be utilized to secure practically any microbe of interest,” states Ariel Furst, the Raymond and Helen St. Laurent Career Development Professor of Chemical Engineering and the senior author of the new study. “We believe there are microbes out there that can assist with a range of illness, which we can secure them for manufacture and production.”
MIT postdoc Gang Fan is the lead author of the study. Pris Wasuwanich, an MIT undergrad, and Mariela Rodriguez-Otero, a previous MIT Materials Research Laboratory Summer Scholar, are likewise authors of the paper.
Protective finishing
Most of the microbes that reside in the human gut are anaerobic, and they have differing degrees of sensitivity to oxygen. Some can endure a bit of oxygen, while for others, oxygen is deadly.
This makes it difficult to check their possible as treatments for human disease, because bacteria require to be freeze-dried and formulated as pills in order to be used therapeutically. In this study, Furst and her colleagues decided to attempt protecting anaerobic bacteria by covering them with a product made from metal ions and organic compounds called polyphenols.
When polyphenols and metal ions are taken into an option, they form a two-dimensional, grid-like sheet. For this research study, the researchers utilized iron, which is safe for human consumption, and 3 polyphenols that are all categorized as GRAS (typically considered safe) by the Food and Drug Administration: gallic acid, tannic acid, and epigallocatechin, all of which are discovered in tea and other plant products.
The material self-assembles into a coating on specific bacterial cells if germs are also added to the service. This covering protects germs during the freeze-drying and production process. The scientists revealed that the covered cells were healthy and able to carry out normal cellular activities, although their development was momentarily prevented.
When exposed to an acidic environment, such as that of the stomach, the covering breaks down and launches the bacteria
Releasing bacteria.
One of the stress that the scientists utilized to check the covering is Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. This species, which has actually enzymes specialized to digest carbohydrates, appears to be more abundant in the gut microbiome of healthy individuals. It has actually been difficult to study how these germs may promote health if offered as biotherapeutics, due to the fact that they are very delicate to oxygen.
Bacteria with this type of protective coating could likewise be helpful for farming applications such as assisting to make crops more stress-tolerant. Another possible application for the covering is to use it to protect microbes that are used as vaccines.
” If we can remove the need for cold storage and transport, we believe it would make a great deal of therapies more widely offered,” she states.
Reference: “Protection of Anaerobic Microbes from Processing Stressors Using Metal– Phenolic Networks” by Gang Fan, Pris Wasuwanich, Mariela R. Rodriguez-Otero and Ariel L. Furst, 9 December 2021, Journal of the American Chemical Society.DOI: 10.1021/ jacs.1 c09018.
The research study was moneyed by the MIT-Deshpande Center, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at MIT, and the MIT Materials Research Laboratory MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation.

Chemical engineers have actually produced a finishing for microorganisms that might make it easier to deploy them to treat gastrointestinal illness. Credits: Felice Frankel
Chemical engineers developed a coating for microorganisms that might make it easier to deploy the organisms to deal with intestinal diseases.
The human gut is home to countless types of germs, and some of those bacteria have the possible to deal with a variety of intestinal diseases. Some types may assist to combat colon cancer, while others might help treat or avoid infections such as C. difficile.
One of the barriers to developing these “living biotherapeutics” is that much of the species that might be advantageous are damaged by oxygen, making it tough to make, store, and deliver them. MIT chemical engineers have now revealed that they can safeguard those germs with a finishing that helps them to endure the production process.