Having achieved the connection and interaction between the hardware and the biological parts, our designed SKIP can help patients with PD to relieve their symptoms when the disease attacks. We utilized bluetooth chip and vibrational sensor (see our hardware for detailed information)in our hardware, which enables SKIP to detect the tremor, to accept signals, to transmit signals, and to derive signals; In our biological parts, we applied genetically-editing methods(see our Engineering for detailed information), transformed the plasmids that can be regulated by light and can catalyze Tyr to L-dopa, and successfully controlled the L-dopa production by light. However, it is important to note that, due to different dietary habits, the amount of time that the same E.coli stays in different patients’ intestine would differ, leading to an in-continuous treatment. Besides, in our loop, the dosage of L-dopa administrated is completely controlled by doctors. In China, however, as a result of the massive number of population, the instant feedback can be hard to accomplish. Finally, L-dopa could cause multiple side-effects nausea, sleep-loss and hallucination.
An achievable method to solve the former problem is to further genetically edit the E.coli to render it tolerable to the variable environment in the intestines. We have primarily planned to fix the problem by utilizing the quorum sensing of bacteria, so as to regulate its growth under variable circumstances. While we were looking through the database in search of a practical solution, we realized that the solution that we proposed is not unprecedented and would be feasible: Manchester-Graz, an iGEM team in 2015, has successfully produced L-dopa within E.coli utilizing quorum sensing; In 2009, a team of scientist led by Jeffrey J. Tabor has combined the light-regulating system (Cph8/OmpR) with quorum sensing. These two facts indicate that our design is realizable; the only thing we need is time. We would update our progress after WIKI unfreezes.
The second problem can also be resolved by introducing software into our initial design. Although doctors could be too occupied to administrate drugs, we could regulate the amount of drug administrated, by properly programming software. The software should be able to automatically administrate the drugs of the needed amount when a tremor is detected, which means that the model of the amount of “L-dopa needed with respect to the intensity of tremor” is required. Given that patients are all different from each other, to more accurately control the amount of L-dopa administrated, patients’ personal information, medical history, for example, has to be acquired. These requirements indicate a need of collaborating with the government, which is extremely difficult for high-schoolers like us. it is thus important to demonstrate the practicability of SKIP, and we have considered first cooperating with large institutions to gain sufficient funds. It is not impossible because in the city we reside in, multiple programs provide funds for ambitious senior students (the Senior Inventors of Shenzhen, for example, is one among many).
SKIP is surely valuable in multiple aspects. Aiming at solving the problem of patients with Parkinson’s Disease, SKIP, after several modifications, can automatically administrate L-dopa to patients with PD, and it is the very nature of SKIP that can substantially help patients with PD to live a more convenient and more joyful life. When conducting our program, we not only project our vision to devise a kit experimentally but also design some HP activities that aim at, virtually, helping patients with PD to be more accepted. The music we composed for the community, for example, brought the silent community forth into public views. Economically speaking, induced by light, the cost of regulation could be rather inexpensive; also, by implanting bacteria into patients' intestine, patients do not have to take meds every day. Although the deterioration of the patient is inevitable, with our SKIP, when their symptoms can still be controlled by oral administration of drugs, their problems of trembling hands and painful attacks can be solved, once and for all.