An engineered probiotic for diabetic health

Pharmacology; Synthetic Biology; Diabetes

The team is utilizing a synthetic biology approach to engineer a probiotic that can convert dietary glucose to glycogen to minimize or control insulin spikes in diabetic models.

Our Team (Trio) is developing a proactive probiotic that would lessen glucose spikes for patients with Type 2 diabetes. Hyperglycemia contributes to a multitude of diabetic contributions including cardiovascular disease, renal disease, neuropathy and retinopathy. We are applying a synthetic biology approach to engineer a bacteria that is localized to the upper GI tract that will ingest glucose and covert it to glycogen. The bacteria can then be designed to release metabolized glycogen in a time release fashion to minimize glucose spikes during and after meals This would minimize or possibly control systemic hyperglycemia, reducing the strain on the pancreas to produce insulin. The synergistic trio is composed of a synthetic biologist with skill sets in engineering bacteria (Keith Kozminski), a biomedical engineer and pharmacologist with skill sets in developing nanoscale drug delivery platforms for cancer and other diseases (Mark Kester) and a gastroenterologist with shill sets in interrogating the microbiome in GI related disease (Steven Zeichner).

Desired outcomes

Over the grant funding period, the team will generate proof of concept data demonstrating the efficacy and safety of the engineered probiotic. In Vitro, we will demonstrate that the probiotic can efficiently convert exogenous loads of glucose to glycogen, In Vivo, we wild demonstrate that post-pranial systemic glucose levels can be mitigated or lowered.  The engineered probiotic has the potential to identify an alternative methodology to control glucose (and insulin) spikes, thus diminishing the need for intensive pharmacological options in Type 2 diabetic patients. These proof of concept studies will provide the necessary compelling data to submit extramural to Launch Pad and NIH NIDDK.