Genetically modified bacteria has the potential to detect diabetes and cancer

Two studies described how diabetes and cancerous tumors in mice can be detected by a genetically modified bacteria, which can be potentially used as a human diagnostic tool, revealed scientist.

A study published in the Science Translational Medicine journal discovered how the E. Coli bacteria were modified and transformed by scientist into a living sensor, that may stay in the mouse’s body to detect tumors for up to a month.

coli has the ability to pass through stomach walls and colonize liver tumors, but the bacteria were modified by scientists for enzyme production, which is capable of changing the mouse’s urine color, as an early warning prompt. Though in mice, the genetically modified E. coli revealed noticeable indication of the presence of cancerous tumor cells within a 24 hour period. Because human gut microbiomes varies from mice, this process is yet to be proven to work.

In the  second study by the researchers, the bacteria were used to search for glycosuria in humans or the presence in the urine of sugar, which is an indication of uncontrolled diabetes. The bacteria E. coli turned the urine red in around 89% of the cases wherein glycosuria was present, which suggest the presence of diabetes when in fact it was not at  3 % of the cases.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UC San Diego, the  researchers are presently working on liver cancer and at the University of Montpellier in France and Stanford University they are working on diabetes. Their research is crucial for the improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of the diseases, which oftentimes go undetected.