By Jessica Hamzelou
There are trillions of microbes living in and on our bodies—and we might be able to modify them to help us treat diseases. Scientists have altered the genomes of some of these bacteria that live on skin, essentially engineering microbes that can prevent or treat cancer. It appears to work in mice, and human trials are in the card
“I think this is really a major breakthrough,” says Julie Segre, a geneticist and skin biologist at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the research. The idea of harnessing microbes to treat cancer, and potentially other diseases, is “a very exciting new avenue for the microbiome,” she says.