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Articles on Synthetic biology

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Killer T cells (green and red), or cytotoxic T cells, surround a cancer cell (blue, center). NICHD/J. Lippincott-Schwartz

Anti-cancer CAR-T therapy reengineers T cells to kill tumors – and researchers are expanding the limited types of cancer it can target

Immunotherapy has the potential to eliminate tumors, but works best for select patients. Engineering T cells to bypass cancer’s defenses could help expand treatment eligibility to more patients.
While resurrecting dinosaurs may not be on the docket just yet, gene drives have the power to alter entire species. Hiroshi Watanabe/DigitalVision via Getty Images

‘Jurassic World’ scientists still haven’t learned that just because you can doesn’t mean you should – real-world genetic engineers can learn from the cautionary tale

As genetic engineering and DNA manipulation tools like CRISPR continue to advance, the distinction between what science ‘could’ and ‘should’ do becomes murkier.
A tailings pond at an oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta., in July 2012. The estimated cost of reclaiming oilsands mines is almost $31 billion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

How engineered bacteria could clean up oilsands pollution and mining waste

Solutions to some of the globe’s most daunting environmental challenges may be closer than you think. Scientists are harnessing nature to clean up toxic chemicals and mining waste.
Synthetic biology has the potential to change how we do agriculture – but will the public accept it? from www.shutterstock.com

A fresh opportunity to get regulation and engagement right – the case of synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is highly promising – but if we don’t get the regulation and engagement right, we risk alienating members of the public, and may even close doors for potentially fruitful research.
Clinical trials using immune cells engineered through synthetic biology have been shown to push some patients into remission from blood cancer. from www.shutterstock.com

The synthetic biology revolution is now – here’s what that means

Right now, you’re living in a kind of industrial revolution – where biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing and automation all come together to form synthetic biology.
Will your cellphone be able to communicate with bacteria in your body? Bacteria image via www.shutterstock.com.

Using electricity, not molecules, to switch cells on and off

New research works out how to translate between the language of biology – molecules – and the language of microelectronics – electrons. It could open the door to new kinds of biosensors and therapeutics.

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