Engineering the gut microbiota to treat chronic diseases

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Sep;104(18):7657-7671. doi: 10.1007/s00253-020-10771-0. Epub 2020 Jul 21.


Gut microbes play vital roles in host health and disease. A number of commensal bacteria have been used as vectors for genetic engineering to create living therapeutics. This review highlights recent advances in engineering gut bacteria for the treatment of chronic diseases such as metabolic diseases, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases, and autoimmune disorders. KEY POINTS: • Bacterial homing to tumors has been exploited to deliver therapeutics in mice models. • Engineered bacteria show promise in mouse models of metabolic diseases. • Few engineered bacterial treatments have advanced to clinical studies.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cancer; Diabetes; Engineered bacteria; Gut microbiota; Inflammatory bowel disease; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Chronic Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases*
  • Mice