We submitted "About our lab" and "About our project" surveys by June 26th
We submitted "Final Safety Form" survey by August 28th
Safe project design
Our product‘s final design is a probiotic pill, which would be used as every day medicine for people with PKU. Theoretically, product would act in human gut, so we designed it with great care and responsibility.
Firstly, it was necessary to hear the opinions about our project of potential future users. Therefore, we visited and surveyed Lithuanian PKU patients. We were happy to get positive feedback on our project and to get some useful notes about its further development.
In the beginning, we considered two options of use: probiotics could be used once in a while just to keep the sufficient number of modified bacteria in the gut. Advantage of this approach is a rare use of medicine, which is beneficial for patients. Another option was to use bacterial probiotics every day in small, sufficient only for a day or even for a meal, amounts. In this case, bacteria could have self-destruction mechanisms, so none of the lively modified product could leave the gut. Last year Vilnius-Lithuania iGEM team created a bacterial timer as a control mechanism. Combining this method together with post-transcriptional control, such as aptamers and riboswitches, could serve as a potential regulatory unit. We considered this a safer option. According to the results of our survey, patients would not mind taking pills every day so we agreed on the second approach.
Our project is the only alternative for severe PKU patients to the low protein diet at the current time. It would provide those patients with higher life quality.
Safe laboratory work
All the parts we used throughout our project are not toxic or dangerous for the environment. Throughout our project we used these E. coli strains: DH5a, DH10b, BL21 (DE), BL21-AJ, Rosetta, Nova Blue, Arctic Express, C41, TOP10, ER2566.
During our lab work, we stuck to general laboratory safety – wearing protective clothing (lab coats) and gloves at all times, using goggles when necessary, taking care of various chemicals, sterilizing and cleaning the lab, in order to prevent any possible contamination, handling the equipment. We operated with biological material under the laminar flow cabinet.