We are creating new biological sensors, actuators and regulatory networks with diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities. By reorganizing functional domains we design proteins, DNA and RNA with new and unique capabilities suitable in medical applications. The engineered molecular constructs are then compartmentalized using engineered or natural nano or microparticles as well as specific cell types in order to provide the necessary specificity and sensitivity. These new and unique properties aim at development of new and more specific diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
The continuous detection and recording of physiological parameters reflecting not only the body’s present state but also its history is an ideal method not only to detect current pathological alterations but also to help in their treatment and managing of complications. Furthermore, the analysis of large amounts of data from these recording may identify certain patterns useful to predict the development of specific diseases with enough time in advance as to allow the use of preventive measures in order to delay or avoid the pathological process. The recording of this type of dynamic information in conjunction with the static information provided by whole genome sequence analysis will maximize human health to a level never conceived before.
We are evaluating new technological approaches specifically directed to enhance the regeneration capacity that certain organs have. In contract to more primitive organisms such as salamanders and planarians where regeneration is capable to replace with fidelity the original organs, in mammals such as humans a process of repair in which a non-functional scar is formed has substituted regeneration. However certain organs such as the liver and the pancreas still maintain great capacity to regenerate, an important feature that allows us to create new interventions in order to enhance such capacity. Our work is now focused in the in situ regeneration of insulin and glucagon producing islets of the pancreas in order to restore metabolic control in diabetes. Our technologies are based on the use of a combination of chemical or pharmacological agents with physical stimulation devices. The utilization of techniques such as micro-electro-mechanic systems (MEMS) provide us with in vivo access to targeted organs and tissues within the human body.
The use of synthetic biology has recently produced spectacular results in the fight against cancer. Specifically, the use of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells has been shown in many cases to completely obliterate specific tumor cells by targeting their membrane bound CD-19 antigen. However, this marker is only present in some forms of leukemia (ALL) and lymphoma (B cell Lymphoma). Our work is focused on expanding of these initial results to solid tumors. We aim to create additional combined recognition strategies as to provide the necessary specificity and efficacy to be able to use this form of therapy in solid tumors. This approach includes the additional targeting of the tumor microenvironment and posttranslational modifications such as glycosylation that are specific to particular solid tumors.