Our prototype represents the colon cancer stages and how our project works. It shows a cross section of large intestine and the tumorous sites. The flow of the led lights represent the stages of our project. To mimic the inner surface of colon, we used silicon on our prototype.
The polyp that is formed in the inner site of our colon model begins to grow and become cancerous as shown by the lights. As the cancer cell gets bigger, the capsule that we’ve designed enters the colon flora and the coat of our capsule dissolved. Our bacteria that’s in the capsule sticks to the cancerous cells and secrete Butyrate. The cancerous cells begin to fade as they’re treated with butyrate. Then the kill switch in our bacteria turns on and the bacteria disposes itself.
To sum up, the prototype that we’ve designed is our project in a nutshell and also shows the stages of polyp formation.
If we have more financial support and contact more professionals in the future, we as the METU HS iGEM team believe that, we can carry this project to an advanced level. After necessary steps such as in vitro testing, animal testing and finding the optimum dose, our solution will be ready. During these steps, biosafety will be our priority because we are dealing with both modified bacteria (that we cannot predict the consequences) and humans.
We will create a capsule which will be coated with non-pH-dependant enteric coating. It is a specific coating that dissolves in large intestine. This coating is also used in Dipentum medicine which is used to treat inflammatory bowel disease(1). Our capsule will contain our bacteria which will stay dormant till it will be triggered by IPTG. To decrease the metabolism rate the capsules can be stored in -20 celsius degrees and before intake the capsule can be kept at room temperature overnight in order to activate the system. By that way, our bacteria will reach to the colon where it will be triggered by IPTG and arabinose sugar, starting to produce FimH and butyrate. Here is the illustration of our capsule.
Another option is to create a suppository drug. Such drugs enter the patient’s body through the anus (Ministry of Education, 2012). Suppository drugs concentrate the active substance at site of action and they have less side effects (Hoag, 2002). In our project, we will create a suppository drug that will be given to human body through anus so that it can easily reach the colon without facing the harsh conditions in the human body like stomach acid. Our suppository drug will contain our dormant bacteria and will be triggered by IPTG and arabinose starting to produce FimH and butyrate. By using this type of drugs, we will make our bacteria reach to the colon.
To conclude, after we scientifically prove the effect of our design, with enough financial conditions and help from professionals, we could take our project to the next level. We hope that with the improvements in science, cancer therapy without side effects will be discovered so hopefully no more people will die from colon cancer…
1. GI Society, Citing Websites. Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. Retrieved from: http://www.badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/pill-coating/
2. Ministry of Education. (2012). Hemşirelik İlaç Uygulamaları.
3. Hoag, W.S. (2002). Suppositories. Pharmaceutics 535.