Team:HUNGENIOUS/Crohns trial


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Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system, from the mouth to the rectum. The caused symptoms can be very varied, depending where the disease is present. It has gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms too. It can cause vomiting or weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anemia, tiredness, ulcers in the entire digestive track and skin rashes through fistulas. It can also prevent the small intestine’s absorption.

The exact etiology
of this disease is still unknown but it seems to be caused by a combination of enviromental factors and genetic predisposition. In the developing urban environment this disease is likely to be more current than before, especially among young people. It is more common amongst smoking people than amongst non-smokers. Concerning that Crohn’s disease has a genetical component, those people who has first-order relatives with this disease are 30 times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease than the general population.

Because of the unknown etiology, its cure is unknown as well. Doctors have different ways to maintain a stagnant state (it will not be neither worse nor better), such as lifestyle changes, fecal transplant or probiotic bacteria.

The Possible Role of NAG as Medical Treatment
Human practices

Meeting Competent People

Two members of our group have visited a specialist, Klaudia Farkas, who helps patients with Crohn’s disease. The doctor has spoken about the disease itself, the people suffering from this disorder and different therapies. She said it is worth doing research in this topic, because despite the fact that there are different methods to treat this disease, those are tend to be overly dependent on the patient’s age and the stage of the disease. In her opinion our project could be useful from the aspect that the probiotic treatment and the beneficial effects of the N-aceytlglucosamine would be conflated in it.

On the 26th of May we had the opportunity to meet a Nobel-Prize winner: Aaron Chiecanover visited our school where we were pleased to present him our latest achievements and our team entering iGEM. We could also ask some questions in relation with researching and our project. He had an approving opinion about this competition hence with its help, we have a chance to taste what does it mean to be a researcher.

Research has shown that N-acetylglucosamine, the monomer form of chitin, can affect in the problem areas - it augments tissue repair mechanisms[1]. Because of this, we decided to make a probiotic bacterium which can produce a chitinase-enzyme and break down chitin into its monomer.

There is chitin digestion in the human gastrointestinal tract, too. Italian researchers proved that AMCase enzyme is present in the gastric juice and this enzyme can digest chitin[2]. They detected that this is the only chitinase enzyme in the human gastrointestinal system but AMCase can’t break down chitin into its monomer form (N-acetylglucosamine) but into chito-oligomers for example chitobiose. Thus, besides  AMCase, ill people would need another enzyme to produce N-acetylglucosamine.