Non-Invasive Monitoring Procedure for IBD

This year’s project focuses on a non-invasive monitoring procedure for the detection of inflammatory bowel disease. Our method is devised to be an easy-to-use non-invasive procedure to monitor the inflammation in specific areas of the intestine.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the intestine. IBD can occur at any age, but predominantly between the age of 15 and 30 [1]. More than 2 million Europeans and 1,5 million North Americans suffer from IBD) [2]. Specifically, in the Netherlands an estimated 80.000 people  suffer from IBD [1]. The precise cause of IBD is unknown, but it is considered to be the result of hereditary aspects and an inappropriate immune response against environmental factors. The occurrence of IBD has been rising over the past decades [1, 2]. 

Monitoring of IBD  can be to have an endoscopic procedure, as well as radiological, histological and/or radiological procedures, up to every 4 months [3,4]. An endoscopic procedure is the most invasive procedure a IBD patient can undergo, and is therefore the most unpleasant one. This technique is, up to now, necessary to establish a monitoring for IBD. As team iGEM Eindhoven 2021, we would like to make the current monitoiring procedure more pleasant, by making it non-invasive. The method will consist of a capsule which contains  a sensing mechanism for chronic bowel inflammation by means of a safe and  genetically engineered E.coli bacteria and ultrasound technology. The E.coli bacteria can detect inflammatory markers in the intestine, by means of using receptors on the outside of the bacterial membrane. As a response to the presence of these markers, the bacteria will produce proteins creating tiny gas vesicles which can be observed from outside the body using conventional ultrasound equipment.

More information about this project will be published on our iGEM Wiki .

Check out our Sponsors, without whom this project would not be possible.


  1. Unknown. IBD Chronische Darmonsteking. IJselland Ziekenhuis. Unknown. Web: 06-05-2021. 
  2. Jairath V. Feagan BG. Global burden of inflammatory bowel disease. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Jan;5(1):2-3. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30358-9. Epub 2019 Oct 21. PMID: 31648974.
  3. Nederlandse Vereniging voor MLD artsen. Richtlijn Diagnostiek en Behandeling bij Inflammatoire darmziekte bij volwassenen. Kwaliteitsinstituut voor de Gezondheidszorg. 2008. 
  4. M. Pierik (Maag/Lever/Darm arts), personal communication, June 18, 2021