Percutaneous and endovascular delivery of synthetic biology-derived therapies: translating bioengineering to the clinic

Final ID:


Poster Type:



M Schwenke1, J Greene1, S Braverman2, M Singh1


1Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, CA, 2N/A, Santa Barbara, CA

First Author:

Matthew Schwenke, MD  
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Santa Barbara, CA


Justin Greene  
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Santa Barbara, CA
Stuart E. Braverman, MD  
Santa Barbara, CA
Manu Singh, MD  
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Santa Barbara, CA

Poster Presenter:

Justin Greene  
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Santa Barbara, CA

Presenting Author:

Justin Greene  
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Santa Barbara, CA

Learning Objectives:

To learn what synthetic biology is and how it is currently being utilized.
To understand the specific applications of synthetic biology for interventional radiology (IR) that are currently being researched.


Synthetic biology is an emerging interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering that designs and constructs artificial biological systems. Though still in its infancy, synthetic biology is already being used in the bioprocessing of pharmaceuticals like the antibiotic cephalexin and the type II diabetes treatment sitagliptin. Two specific applications of synthetic biology are currently being investigated for use by IRs: locoregional vector and designer cell delivery. Both can be delivered using percutaneous, transarterial, or retrograde balloon-occluded transvenous approaches.

Clinical Findings/Procedure Details:

Oncolytic viruses and vectors carrying synthetic biology payloads (e.g. gene editing platforms like CRISPR/Cas9) can be delivered into a specific organ or tumor. This increases the efficiency of the treatment as compared to systemic delivery, as it reduces the amount of vector needed for the treatment. It also helps prevent off target effects such as immune activation which can occur more frequently during systemic delivery as compared to locoregional.

Designer cells are synthetic cells that can perform logical functions such as cellular responses to environmental conditions and/or specific antigens. These cells are capable of both sensing and altering the tumor microenvironment as well as binding to tumor-specific antigens and inducing tumor lysis. They can be designed to be immunologically invisible by placing them inside a porous gel capsule. Alternatively, they can be created by first harvesting T-cells from the patient, altering them in vitro, and then reintroducing them into the patient (as in the case of chimeric antigen receptor adoptive T-cell transfer).

Conclusion and/or Teaching Points:

Synthetic biology is a rapidly developing field with tremendous potential to treat a variety of diseases including cancer. IRs are well positioned to deliver synthetic biology-derived therapies as locoregional approaches can improve both the efficiency and safety of delivery as compared to systemic approaches.

Abstract Categories:

Basic Science: Oncology


Biologic agents
Locoregional therapy
Translational research