University of Warwick 2014 iGEM team
With the support of our UK distributor Geneflow, Mirus is providing our TransIT® Transfection Reagents to support the University of Warwick's international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team. The iGEM competition is an international synthetic biology competition that takes place annually, where teams from universities around the world work to advance the field and develop a system that tackles a real world problem. The Warwick team has chosen to take on Type 2 Diabetes, a problem becoming ever more prevalent in global healthcare.
Team Warwick is making a self-replicating system that produces siRNA to downregulate DPP-IV; which is correlated with Type 2 Diabetes. By downregulating DPP-IV, they may increase the incretin effect and improve insulin release in the postprandial phase of digestion. The benefit of having a system such as this would be that many side effects experienced by those taking DPP-IV inhibitors would be greatly reduced since only specific cells are targeted. It would also be significantly cheaper to produce than chemical DPP-IV inhibitors on the market. DPP-IV inhibition is not just restricted to Type 2 Diabetes and it has also been shown to be associated with Alzheimer's disease and various types of cancer. DPP-IV has also been linked with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS); a virus only recently discovered in 2012, so treatment is yet to be properly developed.