Team:NOFLS YZ/Human Practices


IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease) is a chronic disease that impacts a human being’s daily life. The typical symptoms of this disease include persistent diarrhea, abdominal pains or cramps, ulcers in the colon and rectum. According to World Gastroenterology Organisation, the incidence and prevalence of IBD have been increasing with time and in different regions around the world-indicating its emergence as a global disease.

However, because of the various clinical symptoms of IBD, there is no seldom a widely recognized diagnosis criterion or treatment method. Thereafter, exploration of a possible effective diagnosis method of IBD is of great value to protect our human being’s health.

Our project focuses on developing a biosensor to provide clinicians with possible indicators of diagnosing IBD. In detail, it is reported that both S2O32-/ S4O62- and NO3- can be used as biomarkers for the development of biosensors for intestinal inflammation. Based on this theory, we plan to build a Boolean logic circuit that combines two biosensors of thiosulfate/tetrathionate sulfate and nitrate.

To optimize our project, we decided to collect both experts’ opinions and public concerns, which will be integrated into our future project progress and even plan.

Experts’ Opinions about Diagnostic Biosensor of IBD

Interview with Dr. Hanbin Zhu, Director of Medical Division, University Hospital, Wuhan Institute of Technology/Former President, Red-cross Hospital, Jianghan District, Wuhan, Hubei Province

IBD Incidence and Current Treatment in China

Dr. Zhu told us that according to his over 30 years of clinical experience, IBD was not a common intestinal disease before 21st Century in China. However, after the year 2000, the incidence of IBD has rapidly increased. It is estimated that in 2025, nearly 1.5 million cases of IBD will be diagnosed in China.

According to Dr. Zhu, there are mainly 3 types of IBD, namely Crohn’s disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), and unclassified type of IBD. The highest incidence age of CD is between 15-30, while the highest incidence age of UC is beteween30-50.

Meanwhile, Dr. Zhu told us that at the global level, especially in developed nations, IBD has been treated as a common disease. More and more associations have attached importance to this disease, e.g. World Gastroenterology Organisation and AOOC. However in China, the caring system for IBD patients is far from perfect, nevertheless, China’s local government has already noticed this issue and taken some actions, such as taking IBD to chronic disease system. He also mentioned that is necessary to conduct further education activities to help the general public know about IBD.

About the current treatment of IBD, Dr. Zhu said that frankly speaking, there is no very effective treatment of this disease. All the current treatments aim at alleviating related symptoms, such as antibiotics, surgery, and painkiller.

Primary Causes of IBD

Dr. Zhu told us that various factors may lead to IBD, such as genetics, infection, dietary habits, smoking, mental pressures, etc. He also inferred that the high incidence of IBD in teenagers may be partially caused by their mental pressures.

Thereafter, Dr. Zhu recommended we keep a healthy dietary habit, e.g. keep a balanced nutrition absorption, do not smoke or take in alcohol, live happily, etc.

Current IBD Diagnosis Methods

Blood Tests, MRI, X-Ray, endoscopy examination. The costs of these tests range from 100 to 1000 RMB.

Impact of IBD on Daily Life

Dr. Zhu emphasized that as a chronic disease, IBD can’t be fully cured, thereafter it may recur at any time. Thus it causes quite a lot of inconvenience to daily life, such as anxiety, fatigue, change of dietary habits, absorption of nutrition. For young people diagnosed with IBD, it is reported that half of them feel frustrated and tired.

Also, IBD may cause many complications, such as intestinal obstruction and tumor, which may cause further fatal outcomes.

Comments on our Project

Dr. Zhu spoke highly of our idea. He told that with the development of techniques, the diagnosis at the molecular biology level could be a good direction for IBD.

Short Conclusion about Dr. Zhu’s Interview

Dr. Zhu’s interview confirmed our project direction and further encouraged us to proceed with our project. Meanwhile, Dr. Zhu also inspired us to make additional education activities to make more and more people know about this disease. Meanwhile, it is also important to give IBD patients some mental support to help them keep healthy life status.

To optimize our project, we decided to collect both experts’ opinions and public concerns, which will be integrated into our future project progress.

Public Opinions about IBD

We have conducted multiple questionnaire survey to collect opinions of the general public about our project, some of which may be used for our future implementation.

Online questionnaire 1 (whether knowing about)

To find out how many people know about IBD, we used questionnaires to get information. According to the chart, a total of 209 people answered the question, and about one-fifth of them were familiar with IBD. It can be seen that most people do not know much about IBD, so we need to introduce IBD to most people.

From figure 1, we find that IBD is not a small number of patients, accounting for about one in 10 of the surveyed population, and nearly two in 10 do not know whether they have it or not. From figure 2, we find that IBD greatly affects the daily life of patients, which makes them often anxious (51.67%) and restricts the market diet (38.33%).

Online questionnaire 2

At present, our IBD Distinguish team is developing a new method that is cheaper and can reduce the pain of patients. This method is to design biosensors by labeling the metabolites and tetrsulfate produced by IBD in human body, so as to diagnose IBD. As can be seen from the chart, most people (60.77%) are very supportive of us.

The online questionnaire survey results indicated that the insufficient knowledge on IBD in the general public, which further confirmed our willingness to make promotion activities about this disease and our project.

Secondly, the results told us that IBD really causes serious inconvenience for patients’ daily, this also encouraged us to commit to our project, hopefully one day we will make a contribution to alleviate these patients’ symptoms.

Thirdly, we were fully inspired by most respondents’ supportive answers for our project.

Implementation and Commercialization Concerns, Interview with the Mr. Andong Zhang, Senior Manager, Risk Management, COSCO Leasing

Since our project has received positive feedback from both medical professionals and the public, we have been considering its future implementation opportunities. To acquire some methodological insights, we interviewed Mr. Zhang, who is the senior manager of risk management in COSCO Leasing (Medical Industry Focus).

Mr. Zhang provided us with invaluable insights on future implementation, especially on the initial investment, client identification, and market expansion.

Initial Investment: Mr. Zhang suggested us that as long as our idea has novelty and feasibility, we should apply for support from domestic angel fund, investment from China Medical Association and Industry Association.

Client Identification: Mr. Zhang told us according to his interaction with domestic hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, and biotechnology firms, it is better for us to position our future clients as domestic hospitals and biotechnology firms.

Market development: Mr. Zhang suggested that we should focus on the local market and then gradually expand our business outward.

Products: Mr. Zhang gave us two options that we may consider for future implementation. In addition, Mr. Zhang also emphasized on safety, stability, and maturity of our product.

1) We may continue to develop our biosensor until we obtain very rigorously functional results and then use the “perfect biosensor” to enter the market;

2) We may sell our development technology to some biotechnology firms.

Mr. Zhang helped us clarify potential good commercialization directions. We will consider his suggestions comprehensively and make further research, afterward, we will make a feasible implementation plan.