Chapter 10: Synthetic Biology–Engineering Tomorrow's Medicines
Published:25 Oct 2017
Synthetic biology marries our understanding of genetics and cell biology with the design principles of engineering to recreate or build de novo the functions of cells and tissues for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. Here we explore a few of the exciting possibilities afforded by this newly emerging field. We look at the role that synthetic biology can play in manufacturing more affordable medicines and in expediting the process of discovering safe and effective new drugs. We explore how a synthetic biology approach could help turn into reality the concept of ‘personalised medicine’, where a treatment is tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual rather than the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach afforded by conventional medicine. We examine how synthetic biology could provide a radically new perspective on diagnosing and treating disease and how it might be applied to the design and delivery of cell-based therapies. Finally, we look at how synthetically engineering bacteria that colonise us (our microbiome) may benefit human health.