In 2014 artificial life was made for the first time.

Two new nucleotides were added—X and Y—to the standard four: A, G, T, C

These new nucleotides allow for the addition of unnatural amino acids to create entirely new kinds of proteins.

Now biotech company Synthorx has announced that they have developed a new cancer drug using these artificial bacteria.

Interleukin-2 has been studied for decades as an immune system-stimulating cancer therapy, but it unfortunately comes with some serious side effects and is often unpredictable.

By adding an extra unnatural amino acid to Interleukin, Synthorx created a “Synthorin” that prolongs the protein’s activity while eliminating its immune-suppressing effects.

So, it turns out that creating artificial life is more than a cool laboratory trick—it may turn out to be a great new way to create new drugs as well.