This year the Eindhoven iGEM team aims to improve the treatment of the auto-immune disease Vasculitis. This will be done using a cell-based therapy to locally reduce inflammation.
To this end ANCA’s (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) are used. These autoantibodies can act as a biomarker to detect local flare-ups by binding to a cell surface-receptor. The synthetic receptor is based on the concept of the Generalized Extracellular Molecular Sensor (GEMS) platform. Binding of the receptor leads to an intracellular signal which turns on the transcription the cytokine IL-10. Subsequently the cytokine is extracellularly secreted to reduce the inflammatory symptoms.
Although currently the therapy is based on the treatment of vasculitis, the flexibility and modularity of the GEMS platform offers the possibility to create treatments for a broad range of other auto-immune disease.