One of the most popular tracks in iGEM has always been Health & Medicine. There were over 50 teams in this track in 2015 competing for a track prize and several nominations. Because of the number of teams competing for this award, iGEM HQ decided to split the Health & Medicine track into two new tracks: Diagnostics and Therapeutics.
How do you know if your project fits into the Diagnostics track, the Therapeutics track or maybe both? It depends on where you choose to put the focus of your project. Is your project more focused on detecting illness and disease, or on treating it? What parts have you made? Does your project detect pathogens or disease states, or does it pave a way to treat medical conditions? If you are working on both issues, you may want to think about what aspect of your project is working better before selecting a track, or splitting your team and having two projects.
You will find images and abstracts of the winning Diagnostics track teams from 2016 below.
Gotta Detect 'Em All: a multi-STI sensor based on aptamers
According to the World Health Organization, more than one million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide. STIs are a major concern regarding reproductive health beyond the immediate impact. Initiating early patient care allows for better treatment efficiency. Rapid detection and distinction of STIs are therefore a crucial task. To provide a solution, we developed an all-in-one multi-detection device. We chose a recent and promising biotechnology enabling a robust detection of a wide variety of biomarkers. This approach is based on the high specific recognition of aptamers for a particular macromolecule. As a proof of concept, we focus first on the diagnosis of HIV and hepatitis B. By offering a simultaneous test for several diseases, our device has strong potential to improve early home diagnosis. From a body fluid sample, the patient will therefore be able to rapidly assess his health status at a low cost.
U-KNOW: A PREVENTION OF DEATH FROM A BETTER DIABETES MANAGEMENT
Do you know 1 in 12 people does not realize that s/he has diabetes in Taiwan? Do you even know that every 7 seconds, diabetes-caused disease takes one life away? We designed a non-invasive, convenient and electronic device with a reusable sensor for monitoring real-time glucose in urine daily instead of traditional pricking detection. U-KNOW is a two-feature system, which can diagnose glucose level and auto-resetting. E. coli senses the urine for the glucose level, on the other hand, enterokinase degrades E. coli to configure the initial status for the next user. After detection, the collected data is converted into digital signals and sent to the app. This biosensor technique does not only empower diabetic patients to manage diabetes, but also encourages non-diabetics to take care of their health. Prevention is better than cure!