Did you know that each of the trillions of cells in your body makes decisions at every moment of the day? While cells do not have brains, they do have molecular sensors that tell them what to do if a certain molecule or signal is present around them. This makes them similar to a computer program: input – in, response – out.
Unfortunately, just as a buggy software code can make a computer malfunction, sometimes bad genetic code inside our cells causes them to respond in a way that is bad for the body. A cancer cell, for example, has a broken code causing it to grow despite signals to shut down.
Scientists have long sought to develop gene therapy – a way to fix or replace a damaged or missing gene within a person’s genome. Our team approached this challenge in a new way: we engineered something called a protein circuit and it seemed to work!