‘Living medicine’ helps make toxic ammonia breakthrough

This article was taken from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/16/living-medicine-helps-make-toxic-ammonia-breakthrough

By Ian Sample Science editor

Using genetically modified bugs to prolong life was ‘fanciful’ until recently, says scientist

A “living medicine” made from genetically modified bugs has prolonged the lives of animals with severe metabolic disease in a landmark test of the treatment.

Researchers created the medicine by making a common strain of bacteria mop up excess ammonia in the body. High levels can be fatal for people with liver damage and rare genetic disorders.

Tests showed that the microbes reduced dangerous levels of ammonia and boosted survival rates in susceptible mice, while a small trial in healthy people found the bacteria worked as expected and were safe to take.

The breakthrough was described as “amazing” by one leading scientist who said that such medicines were considered “fanciful” only a few years ago.

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