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Medtech Impact on Wellness

Most cancer therapies focus on killing cells, but researcher Gabor Balazsi is trying a different approach: he’s creating gene circuits to change cancer cell behavior. He takes listeners through this imaginative approach for altering the direction of cancer progression.

Listen and learn

  • How these circuits might work after an early cancer detection test to prevent metastases,
  • What the step-by-step processes of these circuits include,
  • How he addresses concerns of gene circuits gone wild, and
  • What are additional possible applications including virus treatment.

Gabor Balazsi is the Henry Laufer Professor and a physical and quantitative biology professor within the Biomechanical Engineering Department at Stony Brook University. Cancer researchers meet that resounding question—can cancer be cured—from multiple disciplines, and he applies a biomechanical approach. He’s working on a method to control cancer cells by inserting them with human-built artificial gene circuits.

The circuits are designed to control the cells and make them “better behaved.”

Here’s how it works: these gene circuits consists of two simple genes, a commander and actuator, and their usual products such as mRNA. The circuit hooks onto a cancer cell and a scientist “talks” to the commander through chemical means. The commander then gives directions to the actuator, which changes the cell’s behavior.

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Professor Balazsi answers Richard’s questions about controlling the circuits so they don’t cause harmful effects, addresses issues of extracellular vesicles, and describes how and where exactly the gene circuit hooks in to the cancer cell. Ideally, these circuits would play a role in a cancer prevention and early detection program or with early cancer symptoms and diagnosis to prevent cells from mestasizing. Listen in for more details about this intriguing research into a new method for battling cancer.

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