Synthetic Biology Moving into the Clinic

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Science  02 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6047, pp. 1248-1252
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206843

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Synthetic biology is an emerging field focused on engineering biomolecular systems and cellular capabilities for a variety of applications. Substantial progress began a little over a decade ago with the creation of synthetic gene networks inspired by electrical engineering. Since then, the field has designed and built increasingly complex circuits and constructs and begun to use these systems in a variety of settings, including the clinic. These efforts include the development of synthetic biology therapies for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer, as well as approaches in vaccine development, microbiome engineering, cell therapy, and regenerative medicine. Here, we highlight advances in the biomedical application of synthetic biology and discuss the field’s clinical potential.

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