In our team’s integrated human practice, we focused on looking for the demand for our project, engineered bacteria with gas vesicles to detect colorectal cancer. To find the application scene, we did survey, interviewed people and built models, finally we found the application prospect of our project.
After we analyze the impact of lowering down our project’s price, we plan to let our biosensor play different roles in countries in different financial situations. We divide those countries into 3 groups: developed countries, developing countries and less developed countries.
We used the data from human development index categories to divide countries in the world into those groups. We choose the countries HDI values above 0.8 as the developed countries, below 0.6 as the less developed countries, and others are developing countries.

Figure 1. World map representing Human Development Index categories (based on 2017 data, published in 2018). [1]


In less developed countries (LDCs), those features are common[2][3]:

  • Poverty – adjustable criterion based on GNI per capita averaged over three years. As of 2018 a country must have GNI per capita less than US 1,025 dollar to be included on the list, and over 1,230 dollar to graduate from it.
  • Human resource weakness (based on indicators of nutrition, health, education and adult literacy).
  • Economic vulnerability (based on instability of agricultural production, instability of exports of goods and services, economic importance of non-traditional activities, merchandise export concentration, handicap of economic smallness, and the percentage of population displaced by natural disasters).

In this kind of countries, colorectal cancer can be a fatal illness because of their poverty. With poor condition and few medical facilities, the key point to help those people in less developed countries is to introduce a low-cost early diagnosis tool to them to diagnosis cancer earlier to get earlier treated.

Why early diagnosis not screening?

Although the cost of our ECHO project is cheap, its widespread as a screening tool is still too expensive for a less developed countries government. So we plan to introduce our project as an early diagnosis tool, for people to detect tumor in the early stage.

Target operators: Small hospitals, big clinics and above
Target users: People with symptoms


In developing countries, with higher possibilities of colorectal cancer, request for an efficient and low-cost screening tool is much higher. Considering other factors like the regional differences in the economy in China, or the huge gap between African countries and European countries, we consider our project can play totally different roles in different conditions. With a higher life condition, people may have a higher possibility to obtain colorectal cancer. As well, they may have more budget for precaution and treatment.
So, in developing countries, our project can be both screening tool and early diagnosis tool. In most regions, there is a blank in the screening method, and our project can fill up this blank. Because our method’s price is low, it can be easily carried out in small hospitals and clinics and with high specificity, which can be a great advantage over other screening methods.
Also, our method can be an efficient early diagnosis method in some regions. Some countries or regions in poverty so that cancer early diagnosis can be very difficult because of vacant of specific medical equipment. Our project only needs basic ultrasonic detect equipment to achieve early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. With better ability to be equipped in rural areas, our project can serve as an early diagnosis method for people live in distant or rural areas.


In developed countries, people are having the highest potential of colorectal cancer because of their diet with too much meat and oil. Also. Developed countries have better welfare and medical insurance, people are more aware of their physical status and take physical examinations regularly. In developed countries, our product can be used in these situations:

  • As a screening tool to cut down the cost of regular physical examinations
  • As a pre-check method in doctor’s diagnosis.
  • Another method to replace colonoscopy to avoid discomfort


[1] "Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update". HDRO (Human Development Report Office) United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
[2]"Criteria For Identification Of LDCs". United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Development Policy and Analysis Division. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
[3]UN-OHRLLS Criteria for Identification and Graduation of LDCs.

(Author: Bozitao Zhong)