Pupils from City of London School are working on a technique to diagnose cancer as part of a worldwide biology competition.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM)’s synthetic biology competition sees hundreds of under- and postgraduate student teams from across the world enter every year.
City of London School was the first British high school to enter last year when they won a silver medal. This year, the team of 17-year old boys are one of only two British school entrants.
Teams are asked to create a genetically engineered system to tackle a real world problem. The City of London School team’s project is about cancer diagnostics. They have been developing a novel technique that can diagnose cancer easily, cheaply and at a curable stage.
It involves detecting particular molecules found in body fluids that can help to diagnose an individual with a variety of different types of cancer at a pre-symptomatic stage. The boys estimate that each test would cost less than £5. They have presented it to the judges as a potentially lifesaving screening technique.
The boys are currently carrying out experiments to create and test their genetically engineered system. They are aiming to present it at the November finals of the IGEM competition in Boston.