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Synthetic biology in the real world: Case studies

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Autolus - Genetically engineered cellular robots to attack cancer

By Caroline Channing

Autolus is a spin out company from UCL based on the work of Dr Martin Pule. It is developing cancer therapies based on engineering immune cells (called CAR T- cells) to enable them to more effectively target cancer cells.

This technology will enable cancer to be specifically targeted, unlike current treatments which are indiscriminate and kill healthy cells as well as cancer cells.

Clinical trials have demonstrated the underlying technology to be effective, and a Company, Autolus Ltd, has been established by Syncona (A Wellcome Trust Investment Company) to further develop and commercialise next generation engineered T-cell therapies.

UK Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology 2016

Click on the image above to download the UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016

New synthetic biology technologies are starting to offer exciting opportunities across a range of industries including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, biofuels and health.

Research Council funding in collaboration with a wide variety of national and international partners across academia and industry, is supporting the long-term growth of UK synthetic biology, development of a highly skilled workforce and an infrastructure to underpin and enable cutting edge research in industry and academia, as well as providing support for synthetic biology start-up companies.

The pervasive potential of synthetic biology is brought to life through a series of case studies ranging from a biosensor toolkit with the ability to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes through to using enzymes from yeast mould to unlock cleaner routes to producing biofuel.

The wide ranging applications of synthetic biology will play an important role in growing the UK's bioeconomy, creating new jobs and ensuring the UK is a world leader in this area.

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