The gut is home to trillions of microbes and, through its mucosal layer, the large intestine offers attractive access to the immune system. But getting drugs delivered to the gut presents a major challenge and, as a result, inflammatory diseases of the gut, like Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis, are difficult to treat. . Systemic IV injection is non-specific while oral drugs must brave the acidity of the stomach and a long journey through digestive enzymes and microbes before the colon can be reached.
Dr Edward Green of CHAIN Biotechnology talks to BioInnovation Spotlight about their platform for living medicines. This uses an engineered strain of anaerobic bacteria of the genus Clostridium - well suited to growing in the gut - to produce therapeutic compounds and even antigens for vaccines. Because these bacteria produce hardy spores, they can be taken orally and survive passage through the GI tract.