With the development of a new non-invasive method to easily measure sugar levels without pain, Biotechnology students of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) Guadalajara won a silver medal in an international competition of Synthetic Biology. The method consists of a bio-ink capable of sensing the glucose levels in human skin by expressing a colorful protein according to the concentration of sugar.
Along with 6,000 from around the globe, the team of 18 ITESM students represented Mexico at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) 2019, in Boston.
The development, called Gliksys, is similar to a pen and contains a bio-ink made with live microorganisms, which allows calculating blood glucose levels by changing its color as a reaction to its contact with sugars in the skin. The bio-ink will result in certain shade and that is related to the levels of glucose in the blood. Currently, the researchers are using a fluorescent pigment, but the developers want to use one that can be seen with the naked eye.
Daniel Díaz, a third semester student of Bioengineering and member of the Mexican team, said the iGEM was “an incredible experience. I learned a lot from all the teams that participated from various countries.”
With this new approach for Continuous Glucose Monitoring (MCG), measurement can be easily implemented, without the need for any specialized equipment.
“With this new development, diabetic people who measure themselves with a lancet will no longer have to,” Díaz said.
Now part of the skin will be painted with a pen-like device, and the bio-ink will change its color, indicating the levels of sugar found, said José Carlos Morales, another member of the project.
Triana Mayra Sánchez, another of the participants of the project, said “we are very happy because the biological parts -constructs- that we are standardizing will make the design of the bio-ink possible.”
“In a matter of research we are validating the proof of concept and we will enter the development of the experiment and the initial prototype,” Sánchez said.
After this international distinction, the team of 18 university students will continue their research in the Guadalajara campus laboratory.
The iGEM Foundation is an organization dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology and the development of education for the community.
Formed primarily by university students, they work to design, build, test and measure a system of their own design using biological parts and molecular biology techniques.
Source: Agencia ID