Genetically engineered bacteria can prevent mice offered a high-fat diet from overeating. The beneficial effects of the bacteria last for about four to six weeks, suggesting that they temporarily take up residence in the gut.
Researchers developed the anti-obesity therapy to test a new way of treating chronic diseases. Sean Davies, a pharmacologist at Vanderbilt University, is modifying bacteria that live in and on the body—known collectively as a person’s microbiome. The hope is that engineered microbes could secrete drugs to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions over the long term, eliminating the need to remember to take a pill. Another benefit is that many drugs—including the one tested by the Vanderbilt group—cannot be administered orally because they wouldn’t survive digestion. Bacteria could make it easier to administer such drugs.
The concept is interesting, but this is the first mice trial – meaning, nowhere near prime time.
While most know E. coli from the scares in the recent years, we have E. coli in our intestines.