“In an elegant feat of synthetic biology, Shao and colleagues were able to remotely control release of glucose-lowering hormones by engineered cells implanted into diabetic mice. These designer cells were transfected with optogenetic circuits, which enabled them to produce the hormones in response to far-red light. A smartphone could adjust far-red light intensity and duration with the help from a control box. Implanting hydrogel capsules containing both engineered cells and light-emitting diode light sources provided a semiautonomous system that maintained glucose homeostasis over several weeks in the diabetic mice.” This study illuminates the potential of cell-based therapies and has application for a large variety of disorders including those in brain.

Shao J, Xue S, Yu G, Yu Y, Yang X, Bai Y, Zhu S, Yang L, Yin J, Wang Y, Liao S, Guo S, Xie M, Fussenegger M, Ye H: Smartphonecontrolled optogenetically engineered cells enable semiautomatic glucose homeostasis in diabetic mice. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Apr 26;9(387). pii: eaal2298. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal2298.



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