In order to gain a general acceptance from the public of our project, we need to allow different stakeholders in Hong Kong to know about our project and synthetic biology. We achieved youth education on synthetic biology by our workshop in those primary schools, introduced participants to what synthetic biology is and have a better cognition related to the ethical issues connected to synthetic biology. Through on-campus activities, we promoted synthetic biology to our schoolmates of different study areas and introduced probiotics are elsewhere in their daily life to arouse the attention to this topic. Holding outreach activities including interviewing the people suffering from gout and elderly center to gain opinions so we could make further improvements for the real-life practice of our project.
Health care workshop(12/10/2019)
We introduced primary school students about the main idea in the Health care workshop, which is held in the school campus of Pui Ching Middle School. We held activities like mini tests, group games, flourishingly raised the problem of gout to the participants. The workshop was successful, as participants were found to have understand more about Gout and how to combat the issue. Also receiving more knowledge and develop interest on analyzing DNA.
Professional Learning and Sharing Platform
Sharing with CUHK(21/9/2019)
We have also hosted a sharing with help from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which allowed each team from Hong Kong to share their findings so far, and a discussion forum where resources to help with Wet lab, Dry lab, Integrated Humanities of the findings of each team.
We attended and presented our project in the conference. We had exchanged ideas with other iGEM teams as well. Supervisors from other iGEM teams gave helpful advices for improvement of our project. We also gain more experience in presenting and answering questions, it was like a small rehearsal for Jamboree.
Visit to Elderly Centre(25/9/2019)
Three of our team members visited the Sun Chui Lutheran Centre for the Elderly in Sha Tin to share our knowledge of gout and gout treatment, collect opinions of our approach, their knowledge of gout and their main concerns of our proposed treatment. The goal is to give us different perspectives of how different people view gout and our approach to treating gout, and use the information obtained to further better our product and introduce our product in the future. In this investigation, of the 13 elders, about one third of them revealed that either they or their family members have developed gout before. Actually, most of the ones developed gout had their symptoms treated after visiting their doctors twice, or even 2-3 days after taking the medicine their doctors prescribed to them, and only a few of them need to be injected. The biggest problem for them is cost of seeking medical assistance, which requires $300-400 per visit. However, one of the elderly said her husband repeatedly developed gout because of his diet (he likes drinking beer), and this heavily affects him as he can’t even go outdoors. As his wife vividly described, a 10-minute-trip to the shopping mall took him 60 minutes. From this investigation, we are able to assess the inconveniences that gout brings to the elderly and the shortcomings of present medication. We discovered that present medication is less cost-effective than our approach. Forbye, the current drugs are therapeutic, meaning that the patient has to go through the agony of gout before receiving treatment. Our drug is prophylactic, and can prevent the patient from developing gout another time. We also asked the elders if they would take our drugs or recommend it to a family member. After we told them that our drugs are tested and are safe for humans, almost all of them said they would try it. This greatly exceeds our anticipations as we expected the elderly to be more conservative. At the end of the visit, we gave each elder a pack of crackers to thank them, and the elderly shook hands with us and wished us good luck. Overall, this is another invaluable and enjoyable experience for our team and we benefitted a lot from it.
Our teachers have previously met Mr. Ricky Chiu, Ph.D., the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He completed his Ph.D. in bioengineering at the University of California and founded PHASE Scientific. He is the pioneer of biotechnology field and we are delighted to discuss business issues about our project with him.
Firstly, he showed interest on our project: future drug discovery using uricase. He then suggested a few things to complete. We have to find a reliable lawyer to help us to check patent, in order to verify our novelty of our project. Moreover, he encouraged us to conduct marketing strategies, such as introducing benefits and applications of probiotics, so that our target group (elderlies) or even general public can accept our project. Finally, he suggested that we should show enough evidence to support our uricase is functional. We feel thankful for his suggestions and we truly believe that we can find a suitable business partner if we achieved all requirements Mr. Chiu previously suggested.
We have approached Mr Gilbert Chan, a lawyer in Hong Kong, to help us on our project’s business progress. He had completed CUHK Faculty of Law, Juris Doctor, and also UC Berkeley Bachelor of Art, before he became a lawyer. We asked him to search for patent on our project. He had finally found a patent from Europe about uricase, but we still have a right to register patent in Hong Kong. We sincerely express our appreciation for the support by Mr Chan.