Team:METU HS Ankara/Design


In our project we developed a way to cure cancer by using FimH and Butyrate. It was all good in theory but we had to mold our project into something vendable so it could be used in reality. To do that, we designed a capsule which would contain our genetically modified bacteria in dormant state, IPTG (Isopropyl β-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside), a commonly used sugar in cloning procedures that require induction of β-galactosidase activity (1), and arabinose (2) , to induce the arabinose promoter in our circuit.

Common cancer treatments like chemotheraphy and radiotheraphy have various side effects, costs a lot of money and they’re not effective enough. That’s why we designed an alternative treatment which doesn’t affect the health body cells, is affordable, and effective.



Chemotherapeutic drugs are so expensive in every country and most people can’t afford these drugs. For example one of the most common chemotherapeutic drugs in Turkey contains 500 mg 120 tablets in one package which costs 132 dolars. Doctors recommend using it for at least 3 months in a row and every patient has to use it twice a day(1250mg x 2). That makes 2.500 mg of Xeloda every day. As one package of this chemotherapeutic drug contains 60.000 mg (500 mg - 120 tablets), patients need to buy a new package after 24 days. That makes 132 dolars for every 24 days. (3) As the statistics show, it is super expensive when it is compared with our alternative treatment and most people can’t afford these kind of chemotherapeutic agents. That’s why we choose a treatment that is affordable for every people all around the world. One package of our capsule (120 tablets) will almost cost 24,83 $.

(For 120 tablets, Arabinose costs 0,0007241502 $, IPTG costs 24 $.)



In addition, common cancer treatments like chemotheraphy and radiotheraphy has various side effects on patients as they’re not targetted theraphies. For example radiotheraphy causes tiredness because the body has to repair the damage on healthy cells caused by this treatment. Also it leads to hair loss, serious headaches and also infertility. (4) Just like radiotheraphy, chemotheraphy has also many side effects on patients as it damages the healthy cells. Chemotheraphy causes muscle and stomach pains, nerve damage, blood disorders and nausea. (5)

The figure below illutrates some of the examples of how chemotheraphy negatively affects the body;

Furthermore, the patients have to take more medicine to treat these side effects which means that they have to spend even more money and have to take more foreign substances into their body. We wanted to design a treatment that doesn’t have any side effects, basically doesn’t damage the healthy cells of the patients. So we decided to make a targeted treatment. We made our bacteria to bind specifically to cancerous cells so that it won’t affect the healthy cells. And as we want to increase the concentration of butyrate around the cancerous cells, making it a targeted treatment makes it more effective.