Engineered Live Biotherapeutics: Progress and Challenges

Biotechnol J. 2020 Oct;15(10):e2000155. doi: 10.1002/biot.202000155. Epub 2020 Sep 13.


The human microbiome plays an important role in human health, from metabolism to immunity. In the last few decades, advances in synthetic biology have enabled scientists to design and engineer live microorganisms for therapeutic purposes. In this review, major strategies for manipulating the microbiome are outlined, which include three emerging areas with promising therapeutic applications: engineered commensal bacteria, synthetic microbial consortia, and targeted modulation by phages. Furthermore, the applications of engineered live biotherapeutics in treating a variety of human diseases, including pathogenic infections, metabolic disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer, are highlighted. Finally, an overview of the challenges and opportunities in the future development of engineered live biotherapeutics is provided.

Keywords: engineered commensal bacteria; human diseases; live biotherapeutics; phages; synthetic microbial consortia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Humans
  • Microbial Consortia
  • Microbiota*
  • Synthetic Biology*