Research ArticleCELL ENGINEERING

Smartphone-controlled optogenetically engineered cells enable semiautomatic glucose homeostasis in diabetic mice

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Science Translational Medicine  26 Apr 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 387, eaal2298
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal2298

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Wireless diabetes control? There’s an app for that

In an elegant feat of synthetic biology, Shao et al. were able to remotely control release of glucose-lowering hormones by engineered cells implanted into diabetic mice. These designer cells were transfected with optogenetic circuits, which enabled them to produce the hormones in response to far-red light. A smartphone could adjust far-red light intensity and duration with the help from a control box. Implanting hydrogel capsules containing both engineered cells and light-emitting diode light sources provided a semiautonomous system that maintained glucose homeostasis over several weeks in the diabetic mice. This study illuminates the potential of cell-based therapies.

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