Dia-Beatable – Developing a diabetes treatment that uses glucose-induced self-amplifying mRNA

Lethbridge High School iGEM – Lethbridge,  AB
Developing a diabetes treatment that uses glucose-induced self-amplifying mRNA

Synthetic biology project to make our world a better place. Our 2022 project attempts to help people with diabetes through self-amplifying mRNA to make their own insulin!

Diabetes is a disease associated with a shortage or malfunctioning of the body’s insulin supply. Individuals with diabetes suffer from elevated blood sugar levels that cause nausea and energy loss among other symptoms. Affected individuals must undertake treatments such as diet and exercise regulation, micronutrient and macronutrient consumption, as well as insulin injections to maintain or control their blood sugar. However, these treatments are time-consuming and possibly expensive processes that significantly impairs their daily life. Our solution consists of a self-amplifying messenger RNA (sa-mRNA) that expresses insulin in a glucose-dependent manner. It will be injected into patients monthly, depending on the bioavailability, and take care of their insulin needs in a hands-free manner. One advantage of this solution is the decrease in time spent on controlling blood sugar levels in daily life. Furthermore, the costs for buying insulin and storing medically related supplies will be decreased. However, side effects such as over-amplification of insulin from the treatment are still possible, leading to insufficient blood sugar levels in the body, which could result in additional symptoms. Patients would also still require regular injections of sa-mRNA, and it is unknown whether the proposed solution could produce satisfactory insulin levels. Thus, further testing to ensure the safety and stability of the treatment is required.

Team Grade Level:  10-12
Team Experience Level:    Advanced
STEM Focus:   Synthetic Biology, Bioengineering

 

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Posted on

June 15, 2022