Team:Hong Kong HKUST/hp/article


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) iGEM 2013 team has built a fatty acid inducible system that enable inducible glyoxylate shunt to serve as an artificial futile cycle in human liver cells to ultimately increase energy expenditure responding to high circulating fatty acid levels. This can help obesity patients increase expenditure of calories and alleviate health complications such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. To express this futile cycle, genes necessary for the inducible glyoxylate shunt need to be introduced into a human body. Because introducing genes into the human body is currently not a common therapeutic method, we thought it would be necessary to research on the details of how our project could be actually applied. Even though the application of our project may not occur in the near future, we thought it was necessary to evaluate our project’s application as a potential biotechnology product. We have investigated a possible method that is under serious research in the science community: gene therapy. In this article, we will introduce the approach in more detail; examine the bio-safety and bio-ethical issues; and lastly inspect if our project could be applied using this method.