On the following pages we would like to show you what the team Freiburg is working on in the course of iGEM. iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) is a worldwide competition in the field of synthetic biology where in 2016 over 300 teams from all over the world are participating.
"Nanocillus - 'cause spore is more!"
The treatment of diseases while avoiding systemic side effects is still a major obstacle in modern medicine. After administration, conventional drugs are distributed throughout the whole body thus affecting both, diseased and healthy cells. Current strategies on targeted drug delivery are mainly based on the applications of antibody-drug conjugates or nanoparticles. However, both approaches revealed considerable challenges in their application due to short half-life and expensive production, respectively. We develop a novel platform for targeted drug delivery by implementing highly specific nanobodies directed against surface markers of affected cells. The combination with an enzymatic functionality facilitates the local activation of prodrugs, thus preventing unnecessary side effects by systemic drug dispersal. By engineering the spores of probiotic Bacillus subtilis, a member of the human microbiome, we establish a low-cost carrier for well-tolerated treatment.