The 2018 iGEM Calgary team is leveraging synthetic biology principles to address key limitations of gene therapy. The central project component is a targeted gene integration strategy, which is implemented using recombinases and targeted endonucleases. The strategy is complemented by chromatin-modifying DNA elements that mitigate transgene silencing and dampen regulatory cross-talk between integrated and proximal genes. Several biomolecular strategies are being explored in vitro to enhance the efficiency of the targeted gene integration strategy.
The project includes a supporting microfluidic component, through which the central component can be put in a clinical context. In parallel, we are engaged with gene and cell therapy stakeholders to identify translational opportunities.
The team is also developing a tool that aggregates past iGEM teams' software and makes it easily searchable. The aggregator is intended to make the software developed by the iGEM community more valuable, by improving access to it.
Humans are involved in the creation of this project.