Compass -- We and the World
How do we talk to the world, the public, the company, the scientific research personnel, the doctors and patients, the ethics scholars, the legal person, the six in one, make our project connect with the world, and it is the communication with them that makes our project perfect; we also We are doing our best to make the future of microbiology therapy even brighter.
In order to have a better understanding about the opinion the majorities have on microbial therapies, we conduct a survey aimed at different groups, such as teenagers, the middle ages, teachers, students and so on. According to our result, 80% of the participant are not related to life science, so we think that this result could represent public opinions about microbial therapies. We receive 458 questionnaires in the end.
Considering microbial therapy as a brand new area for the public, we wondered how much people may accept it. To our surprise, the result shown that more than 50% people shown acceptance for it, this proportion was even higher (close to 80%) among young generations (Age 10~29).
We also conducted the survey on the public concern about the microbial therapies, many people said that it is not well developed as the traditional methods, it may involve gene editing or something else. This result brought us deeper and more comprehensive consideration on developing our platform.
From academic concept to the real, clinical application, the obstacles faced by microbial therapy seems more positive than we expected. This also inspired us to seek a pathway for promoting and accelerating the transformation from those potential microbial treatments to practical ones and successfully enter the clinical trial.
★Acceptance especially among young generations
★Comparison to traditional treatments
★Reliance on doctor’s opinions
★Concern on how to promote business and industrial application
In China, there are rather few bacterial therapies allowed to be use in clinical trial, letting alone the related medicine about bacteria therapeutics been put into market. Many companies in China who specializes in bacteria therapy cast their focus on FMT (Fecal microbiota transplants). Their expectations and worries about the development of bacterial therapeutics is of great importance to us. In order to collect related information, we carried out some field visits, hoping it can help us explore the future of bacterial therapy in China.
Treatgut, located in Guangzhou, China, is a national high-tech enterprise commited to develop a complete procedure of better FMT. We went to Treatgut on 22th, Aug, 2019, and had a talk with their techniques and managers.
★How Doctors and Patients See it
★Collaboration with Hospital
★Something about Bacterial Therapeutics and Synthetic Biology
★University and Efficacy of the Safety Platform
The Scientific Research Personnel
To evaluate our project on technique, we had several talks with some scientists during the process of carrying out our project. They are Prof. Yu Fu, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Prof. Shushan Gao, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Prof. Ping Zhu, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Prof. Xingzhong Liu, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Prof. Qiwen Hu, from Third Military Medical University. Talking with them gives us some enlightenment, which also urges us to think about every detail of our project to improve it.
From left to right:
Prof. Yu Fu, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Prof. Shushan Gao, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Prof. Ping Zhu, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Prof. Xingzhong Liu, from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences;
★Promising but Somehow Worrying
★Technological Development Level and the Mechanism Behind it
★Cautious and Bold
★Impact on the Original Flora
The Doctors and Patients
Since the ultimate aim of bacterial therapeutics is to serve as a better approach for treatment and choosing which method for treatment depends on doctors. Because of this, we must know how doctors think about bacterial therapeutics, whose opinions count a lot. Doctor Xiang Zhang, from Zhejiang cancer hospital, told us how bacterial therapeutics looks like in his eyes.
★The Efficacy of Therapy
★Guarantee: Biosafety First
★From Patients' Perspective
The Ethics Scholars
When it comes to drug development, because the patient is in a weak position and the particularity of the new therapy, ethical issues are a question that deserves our consideration. To this end, we conducted an interview with Yonghui Ma, who has in-depth research on bioethics related to microbial therapy. She reminds us that microbial therapies want to be promoted, and the ethical issues that must be addressed must be addressed.
In addition, we also heard an ethics report by Mr. Renzong Qiu in Beijing in January 2019.And Ruipeng Lei’s lecture on ethics in synthetic biology in Shenzhen on August 21, 2019, which also inspired us to think about the ethical issues that may be involved in microbial therapy.
Not only bioethicists and ethics committees should conduct risk-benefit assessments of synthetic biology and the work of scientists, develop risk reduction strategies and ethical guidelines, and governments should provide appropriate national conditions for synthetic biology research, applications, and industrial development. Policies and regulations, improve supervision and management systems, promote biosafety and bioethics education, establish public communication channels and participation channels, and promote exchanges and cooperation with the international community.
★"The existence of ethics is to pay attention to people, protect people's autonomy, dignity and intrinsic value."
★Concerns and Norms of Ethical Issues
★How Bomedical Research Gains Public Trust
★Urgent to be Regulated
★Doctors and Patients: Informed and Consent
★R&D: Ownership and Benefit Distribution
★Test: Autonomous Choice
The Legal Person
Doing a comprehensive research on relevant laws and regulations in China, covering areas like Drug Administration, Environmental Protection, Science and Technology Progress and so on, we have deeper understanding on the perspective of legislation.
In general, in the existing laws and regulations of the country, it is a strong support for the development of science and technology, and it also supports technological innovation. However, for the moment, there are no laws and regulations specifically related to biopharmaceuticals or biosafety. Some conventions or conventions do not directly address current issues, such as how to define whether a drug is safe.The definition of drugs in the regulations is very clear, but in this case, every time a new drug is determined, it needs to be reviewed by various ethics committees. As in the previous interviews with the company, such a vague thing may make The company or other drug research and development institutions are uncertain. If the existing industry can support development well, it will not be willing to take the risk of listing new drugs to a certain extent. This may be an obstacle to development.
We had realized that there remains a long way for us to go in China, while we can actively act as a connection in promoting the establishment of a more mature legal system for microbial therapy.
★The current law is based on what has happened or what has already happened. Many new things have not been considered.
★In the case of biopharmaceutical or microbial therapy, without a long period of development, it has not caused enough attention in the current legislation, and more importantly, it does not provide a legislative direction.
★One aspect that the iGEM and iGEM teams can do is to provide a legislative direction for reference, such as whether microbial therapies have an impact on the environment, and there are many other directions in which problems can occur.
★Do more public publicity and raise the attention of all parties on this issue. It can also be proposed as a proposal on some legal public days.