Facebook PixelEngineer cells of the immune system that indiscriminately deliver nucleic acid payloads
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Engineer cells of the immune system that indiscriminately deliver nucleic acid payloads

Image credit: Euthman

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Feb 25, 2021
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This could be used as a way to seek and destroy hardy parasites (for example Leishmania) or bacteria that evade the immune system (like H. Pylori). It could also be used to deliver organism-wide gene therapies without encountering resistance from the immune system.

We would take a suitable type of innate immune system cell (possibly neutrophils, macrophages, or NK cells) and engineer it to indiscriminately deliver nucleic acid payloads into any type of cell it encounters - be it human or pathogen.

The nucleic acid payload then gets transcribed/translated into a Cas9 type of enzyme that looks for a specific sequence belonging to a pathogen. If a match is found the cell gets destroyed. Otherwise, the enzyme degrades and the cell lives on as if nothing happened.

A suitable nucleic acid delivery method could be copied from viruses. The delivery cells could multiply into millions of copies via clonal expansion. In terms of function, this would be a chimeric cell - part viral, part B cell, part macrophage, or similar.

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