Synthetic Biology

The focus here will be on biological devices that cure diseases, prevent health issues and reverse ageing.

Wikipedia; Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology, combining disciplines such as biotechnology, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, systems biology, biophysics, electrical engineering, and is in many ways related to genetic engineering.

Latest News

Synthetic nanofactory cell produces drugs in vivo – Silicon Republic – 14-Feb-2018
Synthetic cell produces anti-cancer proteins within tumour tissue.
Nanofactory cell HAS capacities similar and superior to natural cells.
Researchers integrated molecular machines within lipid-based particle.
Therapeutic proteins dictated by an integrated synthetic DNA template.
Successfully killed cancer cells in mice.

Scientists Are Designing Artisanal Proteins for Your Body – NY Times – 26-Dec-2017
Our bodies make roughly 20,000 different kinds of proteins.
A protein’s particular shape enables it to do a particular job.
Can now choose the building blocks required to create a particular shape.
Often those proteins are profoundly different from any found in nature.
Protein designed to block flu infection works in mice.

Unnatural microbe can make proteins – BBC News – 29-Nov-2017
Bacterium’s DNA modified to incorporate six letters instead of four.
E. coli bug could hold on to the synthetic code.
Proteins created contained “unnatural” amino acids.
No loss of efficiency compared with natural protein synthesis.
Novel proteins could form basis of new treatments and novel materials.

Synthetic genes can make weird new proteins that actually work – New Scientist – 3-May-17
There are more proteins possible than there are atoms in the universe.
Novel proteins typically created using specific amino acids to fold precisely into a pre-planned shape.
Researcher built DNA molecules coding for 1 million proteins and inserted them into bacteria.
The E. coli bacteria were missing a single gene – which some novel proteins were able to fix.

First stable semisynthetic organism created – Kurzweil AI – 3-Feb-2017
Bacterium with two new synthetic bases (called X and Y) added to the four natural bases (A, T, C, and G).
Single-celled organism can hold on indefinitely to the new synthetic base pair as it divides.
Scientists hope to impart life with new forms and functions.

Synthetic stem cells offer benefits without the risks – Kurzweil AI – 13-Jan-2017
First synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell created.
Cannot replicate – reducing risk if tumor growth and immune rejection.
More durable than human stem cells – can tolerate harsh freezing and thawing.
In vitro experiment on mouse cardiac tissue promoted growth after a heart attack.

Novel proteins created using digital evolution – Kurzweil AI – 10-May-2016
University of North Carolina scientists are engineering proteins with functionality that nothing else is capable of doing.
Structure of a protein determines its function so have to learn how to design new structures.
Team developed a computer design strategy called SEWING – Structure Extension With Native-substructure Graphs – which digitally chopped up naturally occurring proteins.
21 new proteins produced in the lab.
Could help design new cellular machines needed to understand and battle diseases.

Biotech secures €60M for DNA Synthesis – Labiotech – 27-Jan-2016
Proprietary synthetic DNA manufacturing process from Twist Bioscience features a 10,000-well silicon platform capable of producing synthetic biology tools, including genes, oligonucleotide pools and variant libraries.
To date, Twist has shipped 65 million base pairs of DNA to more than 100 customers.

10 Hot European Biotechs to watch in 2016 – Labiotech – 12-Jan-2016
Including immuno-oncology treatments, antibody delivery, Tau-aggregation inhibitors and mRNA therapies.

Synthetic DNA improves human immune system – The Independent – 27-Jul-2015
New technique called electroporation opens up microscopic pores in T-cells allowing Crispr/Cas9 enzymes to enter and replace exact sections of DNA with synthetic, healthy sequences.
Study has genetically-modified cells so they were no longer prone to attack by HIV virus.
Plan is to generate T-cells from a cancer to keep the disease in check.

Artificial nucleotide bases evolved to bind to cancerous cells – The Scientist – 8-Jun-2015
Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution created two new bases (called Z and P) which were then present in evolved soltuions of DNA strands that preferentially bound to cancerous liver cells over healthy ones.

Synlogic –  development of therapeutic synthetic life

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