The IOD band presents a new approach to diagnostics and diagnostic engineering. So at Team Czech Republic we addressed engineers and medical experts to discuss the application and the novel engineering approach. In addition, Czech Republic teamed up with Chalmers Gothenburg to conduct a multinational survey on the public perception of Synthetic Biology.
Since a lot of ideas behind IODs were built on the fundamentals of classical engineering, we wanted to present the concept of our project (from an engineering point-of-view) to young engineers and receive their feedback. We presented our project and synthetic biology in general at a lecture of the Introduction to Cybernetics class led by Prof. Ing. Miloš Schlegel CSc. After giving a 30-minute lecture on synthetic biology, we introduced our project. The response was surprisingly positive. Not only we were asked several to-the-point questions, but some of the students even showed a deeper interest in synthetic biology and individually contacted us after the talk.
In order to get a professional opinion on our project and to learn more about cancer and CTCs, we conducted an interview with two cancer specialists, Mgr. Pavel Pitule, Ph.D. and Mgr. Pavel Ostašov, Ph.D. The interview took place at the Biomedical Center of Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen. After introducing our project idea we discussed some particularly interesting points. This interview was not only helpful and enriching but also led to an agreement to collaborate with the Laboratory of Tumor Biology in the near future.
Most engineers are eager to see the immediate reaction of the system. Following the lectures such as the one for young engineers, we designed IODs as a fast diagnostic test. Also, the preliminary process is quick thanks to the clone-free preparation of required IODs.
Questions we received during the lecture from students and teachers concerning current cancer diagnostics, their price, and efficiency were afterwards discussed with cancer specialists in the interview.
We were recommended to use a color change instead of the agglutination as an indicator of CTCs' presence. As a result, a group of experiments from module 2 was changed to use GFP as an indicator of successful communication between IODs. The use of color indication in the further research proved advantageous (at least partially), and the use of color indicators will always be considered in later experiments.
A recommendation was made to test the agglutination on a slide. As a result, since we had the possibility to perform our experiments in microfluidics, we listened to this advice and used microfluidics as well as microscope slides in our agglutination experiments.
Team Chalmers Gothenburg offered us to participate in their GMO survey. We asked 63 biologists and 50 respondents from the general public to fill in the survey. Same thing was done in Sweden. Thanks to this, we had the opportunity to compare GMO knowledge in Sweden and Czech Republic. Big thanks belongs to the team Chalmers Gothenburg for statistical evaluation of all data.
The positive attitude and further interest of many respondents delighted us.
However, although anticipated, the difference in opinions between biologists and the general public is disturbing. On that account, we are going to arrange more lectures about synthetic biology at our university and also for the general public in Czech Republic.
We did not only wholeheartedly followed standard lab safety techniques and complied with the national GMO laboratory regulations but also considered the broader safety assumptions of our technology. We discussed our idea with non-biological specialists as well as experts, which enabled us to improve the design and get a better grasp of the notion our project idea transmits.