Therapeutic synthetic gene networks

The field of synthetic biology is rapidly expanding and has over the past years evolved from the development of simple gene networks to complex treatment-oriented circuits. The reprogramming of cell fate with open-loop or closed-loop synthetic control circuits along with biologically implemented logical functions have fostered applications spanning over a wide range of disciplines, including artificial insemination, personalized medicine and the treatment of cancer and metabolic disorders. In this review we describe several applications of interactive gene networks, a synthetic biology-based approach for future gene therapy, as well as the utilization of synthetic gene circuits as blueprints for the design of stimuli-responsive biohybrid materials. The recent progress in synthetic biology, including the rewiring of biosensing devices with the body's endogenous network as well as novel therapeutic approaches originating from interdisciplinary work, generates numerous opportunities for future biomedical applications. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.