The Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals established by the United Nations (UN) designed to address a wide range of global challenges and provide a shared framework for countries, organizations, and individuals to work towards a more sustainable and equitable future. During the development of our project, we kept these SDGs in mind, aiming to develop an accessible, low-cost, and convenient colorectal cancer screening platform. We combined our ideas with five SDGs to serve as a guideline for our compliance with the SDGs and contribute to the creation of a sustainable life.[1]

3 - Good Health And Well-Being

As the saying goes: "Time is money." According to research, if colorectal cancer is detected in stages zero or one, the chances of a patient recovering are as high as 90%. However, if it is only discovered in stages four or later, the patient's treatment chances drop substantially to only 10-20%. This shows the importance of regular colorectal cancer detection, which helps patients receive treatment early to improve their chances of recovery.

However, the current colorectal cancer screening method- colonoscopy has several disadvantages including invasiveness, inconvenience, and high cost. These would lead to a lower willingness to undergo colonoscopy regularly, resulting in delays in seeking medical treatment. Our research is dedicated to developing a minimally invasive, highly accurate, and cost-effective method for colorectal cancer detection. We aim to estimate the likelihood of cancer in individuals by measuring the concentration of Circular RNA in their blood, with the hope of increasing public screening willingness and consequently reducing the mortality rate associated with colorectal cancer. Therefore, our project contributes to the SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being.

4 - Quality Education

As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure." We firmly believe that disseminating knowledge about colorectal cancer prevention and encouraging regular screenings represents the most effective strategy for combating the ongoing increase in colorectal cancer cases. Consequently, our team is committed not only to advancing innovative detection technologies but also to raising public awareness regarding the critical importance of early colorectal cancer screening.

Through our dedicated social media platforms, we actively provide the public with informative content related to cancer knowledge and prevention methods. By consistently updating our content, we aspire to expand our social reach and promote synthetic biology to a broader audience. Moreover, we enthusiastically introduce students to the field of synthetic biology and the techniques we employ through our camp programs. To date, we have successfully engaged over 80 elementary to high school students in these educational camps. Our objective is to equip students with a foundational understanding of synthetic biology while instilling an awareness of the gravity of colorectal cancer, ultimately contributing to its prevention.

Furthermore, our website serves as a valuable resource for synthetic biology and general biology knowledge, featuring an engaging research topic presented in the form of a game. Our goal is to facilitate comprehension for the general public, reaching individuals across various age groups and eliminating disparities in educational access. Consequently, we firmly believe that our initiative aligns seamlessly with the principles of Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education.

See the Education page for detailed information.

9 - Industry, Innovation, And Infrastructure

Throughout the course of our project's development, our focus remained steadfast on the twin goals of product commercialization and creating a meaningful impact on a global scale. To ascertain the true demand for our offering within the public sphere, we conducted a comprehensive survey, amassing a total of 408 responses. Among the survey questions, we posed the inquiry, "Do you consider colorectal cancer to be a common and serious disease?" The results indicate an overwhelming 84.6% agreement among respondents, underscoring a clear and pressing demand for an efficacious solution to address the escalating prevalence of colorectal cancer.

Another set of questions delved into the public's perspectives on the existing colorectal screening methods. Strikingly, the statistics reveal that even in a country like Taiwan with comprehensive health insurance coverage, a substantial 51.4% of respondents believe that the cost of Colorectal Cancer detection remains prohibitively high for the general public. This issue becomes even more concerning when considering countries without such healthcare coverage. Furthermore, the database highlights that an overwhelming 76.2% of respondents find the current methods for early-stage Colorectal Cancer detection to be exceedingly inconvenient.

Moreover, NanoCircDx is acceptable to the public according to our public survey. 96.3% of the respondents are willing to use our product for early detection of Colorectal Cancer due to its convenience, accuracy, minimal invasiveness, and efficiency.

In addition to the detection technology, we have also developed corresponding fully automated hardware and software equipment. Our device's key advantage lies in its remarkable simplicity, enabling usage even in remote rural health centers, with a full test completed in just 2.5 hours. Gone are the complexities of hospital procedures, the need for costly machinery, or specialized expertise. By introducing this device to Taiwan's 20 million-strong population, a substantial reduction in the economic strain on Taiwan's healthcare system becomes tangible. Consequently, this device enhances the value of technological products, expanding their utility. Furthermore, its applicability extends to less developed regions, fostering a positive bridge between urban and rural areas.

In addition to its impact on healthcare in Taiwan, our vision is progressively extending to the international arena. Should we continue to delve into circular RNA-related research in the future, we intend to venture into entrepreneurship, creating more job opportunities and accelerating innovation within the liquid biopsy technology sector. This aligns closely with the objectives outlined in "SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure."

See the Entrepreneurship page for detailed information.

17 - Partnerships For The Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are global, long-term aspirations that cannot be realized overnight. Despite the time constraints of the iGEM competition, our team has adeptly managed our time. Over the course of this year, we have engaged in cross-border and cross-disciplinary collaborations with numerous iGEM teams both domestically and internationally.

We initiated the iGEM Map, a comprehensive map displaying iGEM teams worldwide. Each team participating in this initiative is featured on this map, pinpointing their location and providing information about their individual projects. Our objective with the iGEM map is to bolster the cohesion of the iGEM community, streamline information sharing, and establish a platform for teams to connect and collaborate.

In addition, we actively engage in various collaborative activities initiated by other iGEM teams. These collaborations encompass thematic exchange meetings, joint initiatives to promote synthetic biology, efforts to raise awareness about wildlife and plants, and the production of podcasts. To date, we have collaborated with 21 different iGEM teams. Furthermore, we have established a long-term partnership with NYCU_Formosa, with the overarching goal of contributing to the global endeavor outlined in "SDG 17: Partnership for the Goal."

See the Collaboration page for detailed information.