NCKU Tainan’s chronic kidney disease solution wins iGEM gold

From Taiwan Today 2019-11-14
Team NCKU Tainan is winner of gold in the undergraduate division at 2019 iGEM. (Courtesy of National Cheng Kung University)

Team NCKU Tainan is winner of gold in the undergraduate division at 2019 iGEM. (Courtesy of National Cheng Kung University)

An innovative solution for chronic kidney disease developed by a team from Tainan City-based National Cheng Kung University in southern Taiwan is winner of gold at the recently staged International Genetically Engineered Machine competition in Boston.
 
The solution manages p-Cresol accumulation stemming from CKD with a two-pronged approach utilizing NCKU-developed CreSolve and CreSense. The former consists of a type of engineered probiotic, while the latter is quantification device measuring p-Cresol levels in plasma via blood separation and living bacteria bio-sensing techniques.
 
Those with CKD record increasing levels of p-Cresol as the condition progresses. This leads to a variety of complications and life-threatening health issues such as cardiovascular disease.
 
According to NCKU, the 24-member student-faculty team beat out 200-plus rivals from leading international tertiary institutions to claim the prestigious undergraduate division honor. It also finished on top in the categories of hardware, measurement, model, presentation and therapeutics.
 
Huang I-hsiu, team principal and an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at NCKU, said it was the first time in more than decade for a Taiwan team to triumph in such spectacular fashion at iGEM.
 
The students genuinely outperformed, Huang said. They designed a viable solution with full consideration for the challenging primary care consideration of patient convenience and safety, he added.
 
Staged Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, the 15th edition of iGEM involved 353 teams from 44 countries and territories. The competition is considered a global showcase for advances in the fields of electrical engineering, energy, information engineering, medicine and physics. (RAY-E)