1. Introduction

Light-controlled switch regulation of gene expression is an important tool in synthetic biology, targeted therapies for diseases, and other fields (Renzl et al., 2020; Younas et al., 2023). The blue light-dependent CRY2/CIB1 switch, which is highly promising in the field of optogenetics, has many applications, including targeted therapies for diseases such as cancer and malignant conditions (Zhao et al., 2020). Simultaneously, we have found that this technology is also highly suitable for precision treatment of diabetes. Therefore, after comparing the common traditional diabetes treatment methods currently available on the market, we have decided to utilize this technology to develop more advanced treatment solutions (Brinkmann, 2023; James et al., 2023; Nkonge et al., 2023). In order to better design our product to meet current market demands and address any technical shortcomings for improved effectiveness, we anticipate conducting a series of human practices (HP) and integrated human practices (IHP) activities, including market research, social surveys, expert interviews, and business plan simulations. Through these activities, we hope to gain insights into the current status and needs of the diabetic patient population and promote our product and synthetic biology technology to the public in a targeted manner. Additionally, we plan to adjust our experimental design and product based on expert opinions.


2. Survey

Before attempting to promote our product, we hope to understand the current level of public knowledge about diabetes and the current prevalence of the disease. First, by gathering data on the prevalence of diabetes, we can better understand the impact of diabetes on public health and assess the potential benefits our technology could bring to society. Secondly, understanding the attitudes and awareness of the general public regarding diabetes and its treatment can assist us in designing subsequent promotional and educational activities, which will be instrumental in planning IHP activities.

2.1 Questionnaires

To achieve the above purpose and answer the two questions " How does the real world need our technology?" and "What is the real-world impact of our technology?", we have designed an online survey using the WJX (a free Chinese online survey platform). This survey primarily focuses on diabetes disease classification and treatment awareness, as well as the current prevalence of the condition. Specifically, we asked participants the following questions: "Are you familiar with diabetes?", "How many main types of diabetes are there?", "Can diabetes be cured?", "What are the common conventional methods for treating diabetes?", and "Do you have diabetes?"


2.1.1 Characteristics of the Questionnaire

Below are the responses from our public survey in Figure 1&2, which included 522 participants. The respondents consisted of 42.72% males and 57.28% females. The age distribution of respondents was as follows: 25.67% were aged 0 to 18 years old, 18.58% were between 18 and 30 years old, 29.31% were between 30 and 45 years old, 23.52% were between 45 and 60 years old, and 2.87% were over 60 years old.



(Figure 1 & 2 . Baseline characteristics of the questionnaire)

2.1.2 Important results

(1) 7.85% of respondents claimed to have no understanding of diabetes at all. On the other hand, 53.64% of respondents had a basic understanding of diabetes concepts, while 19.73% demonstrated an understanding of basic concepts and principles of diabetes.

(2) 17.43% of respondents showed comprehension of basic concepts, principles, and treatments of diabetes. A mere 1.34% of respondents claimed to have a complete understanding of diabetes.

(3) A significant amount of the population (68.8%) is diabetic.




(Figure 3 a-d . Main results of the questionnaire) 

2.1.3 Reflections

Through this survey, we have found that the current prevalence of diabetes among the population is relatively high, although this rate is somewhat biased due to our non-completely random sampling, which affects its representativeness. However, overall, diabetes poses a significant and widespread threat to the population. Efficient and cost-effective solutions to address the diabetes problem have significant public health implications for promoting the health of our country and even the global population.


Our survey also revealed that despite the severity of the current diabetes epidemic, there is still a gap between people's awareness and the level of importance they attach to diabetes, considering its high prevalence. People have a conceptual understanding and awareness of diabetes, but they lack a deeper understanding of its mechanisms and treatment options. Therefore, it is essential to conduct appropriate promotional and educational activities to foster a positive attitude toward health in society.



3. Interviews and visit

3.1 Interview with experts

3.1.1 Dr Tingting Zhou 

Dr Tingting Zhou is an associate professor at Wuxi Medical College of Jiangnan University. Through this interview, we were mainly interested in finding out the admissions of diabetic patients, the main treatments and costs in diabetic hospitals, and learning about the mainstream treatments for diabetes. Through the method of expert consultation, we were able to gather more frontline treatments and their costs. Comparing this data with our products allows us to make appropriate adjustments to the production of our products and technologies, etc.


(Figure 4. Interview with Dr Tingting Zhou)

We gathered a few important points of data through the interview:

(1) Diabetic patient consultations

(a) China has 9.7% of the world's diabetes population.

(b) The number of people with diabetes has been increasing

(2) Treatment of Diabetes

(a) Patients with mild early diabetes can control their blood sugar with medication

(b) Severe patients need a combination of drugs

(c) Commonly used treatments include insulin injections and oral medications

(d) Innovative treatments such as new drug targets and gut flora modulation have been proposed.

(e) Neither treatment can completely cure the patient, but can only control the disease.

(3) The cost of diabetes treatment

(a) For pre-diabetes or mild treatment, the cost will not be very high, prescribing metformin oral medication for just over a hundred a month

(b) For severe diabetes, they need a combination of multiple medications, and then the cost will be high, several thousand dollars.

(4) Preventive Measures for Diabetes Mellitus

(a) The general public is advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle smoking and obesity are important factors leading to diabetes. We need to be active in self-management, including dietary control, exercise regular monitoring of blood glucose, etc.

(b) Pre-diabetic patients are advised to do regular checkups and monitoring



Currently, in a global context, China has a very high proportion of diabetes patients, and their treatment methods typically revolve around promoting insulin secretion or addressing insulin resistance, which are relatively conventional approaches. Therefore, healthcare institutions are now seeking more efficient treatment methods, with combination therapy drugs being a current research focus. However, the cost of combination therapy drugs is a deterrent for many individuals. Besides medication, lifestyle interventions are also effective measures in the management of diabetes. However, compliance with lifestyle interventions is often poor, making medications the preferred choice. Therefore, the current research emphasis and challenges lie in developing combination therapy drugs that are both cost-effective and highly efficacious.


3.1.2 Dr Zhiwei Zhao

Dr Zhiwei Zhao is an assistant researcher at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Molecular Plant Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His main research interests include plant engineering as well as optogenetic therapy. The interview focused on the use of optogenetics in the treatment of diabetes and its future prospects. Through this interview, we gained a deeper understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of blue light-dependent switch therapy and its treatment methods.



(Figure 5. Interview with Dr Zhiwei Zhao)

(1) Advantage:

The advantages of the blue light-dependent switch genetics treatment method over the traditional treatment method are that he will be (a) more targeted, have fewer side effects, be more precise, and can be timed and dosed. For example, it can be treated precisely according to a specific value obtained in the body. (b) Optogenetic modulation is very rapid, which means that the treatment time can be shortened. The principle is that the reaction speed of the blue light receptor is extremely rapid, in the plant body generally irradiated five minutes later, the protein will immediately respond to the light, and then play a role in being degraded away.

(2) Disadvantages:

(a) There are limitations in the audience, for type 2's there may be basically no problem with their insulin secretion, type 1 his insulin synthesis can be solved normally with this kind of treatment if there is a problem, but if it is caused by some other reasons then there is a possibility that this is not applicable. (b) Realization of this treatment needs to go through many aspects of the PR, such as the most basic one of the switches of a provision, his overall investment is certainly very high in the insulin and pancreas in the treatment of diabetes.



The blue-light gene therapy approach is an efficient, highly targeted, low-side-effect, more precise, and controllable treatment method. When effectively utilized, it undoubtedly represents excellent news for patients with abnormal insulin secretion. However, this technology's target is based on controlling insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells to regulate blood sugar. This implies that type 2 diabetes, which operates on insulin resistance as its mechanism, may not benefit from this approach, even though it constitutes a significant portion of diabetes cases. Addressing this issue and combining "switch" therapy with conventional insulin resistance treatments could be of vital importance for the broad treatment of all types of diabetes.


3.1.3 Dr Yang Zhou

Zhou Yang has several research achievements which are highly relevant to our research. He developed a novel optogenetic tool that is small, highly sensitive, and efficient in induction, laying the foundation for optogenetics-based gene therapy and cell therapy. He successfully applied REDMAP in transgenic expression, regulation of intracellular signalling pathways, control of epigenomic remodelling , and long-term transgenic control in animals using Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) delivery, as well as regulation of insulin expression in diabetes treatment.




(Figure 6. Interview with Dr Yang Zhou) 

Dr Yang Zhou believes that AAV is a relatively simple single-stranded DNA virus with high infectivity and safety. AAV cannot replicate on its own and relies on other viruses such as adenoviruses and herpesviruses. It is used for optogenetic gene expression, allowing gene expression to be controlled through light stimulation. Currently, AAV has been widely applied in the field of optogenetics for the treatment of diseases like diabetes and obesity. Additionally, AAV can be used in gene editing, cytokine therapy, and other areas.


The advantages of red-light technology include the absence of the need for frequent injections or medication, making it a non-invasive method. However, red light receptors currently exist only in cyanobacteria and plants, making them temporarily unsuitable for use in humans. Blue-light receptors have a broader range and higher efficiency, but they have weaker penetration of human skin. Selecting the appropriate wavelength for regulation is also a consideration. Finally, by choosing specific wavelengths of light to regulate different areas, more precise treatment methods can be achieved.


Two major challenges of this approach are the safety and efficiency of host cells, which will be the focus of future research. We did not use chemical methods but directly introduced insulin to lower blood sugar levels. Metformin can be used as a control drug and combined with various technologies such as gene delivery and cell modification. Regarding environmental issues, this technology may be applied to humans in the future, but it will require time and technological improvements. We mainly discussed how to transfer the insulin gene into artificial cells to enhance its efficacy and prolong its duration of action. Although insulin has always been present in the human body, there are risks associated with prolonging its duration of action or rendering it ineffective, which could lead to adverse reactions such as hypoglycaemia. Therefore, researching how to use genetic engineering to make insulin act more persistently and safely in the human body is crucial. With genetic engineering technology, insulin can be expressed when needed and self-consumed. Using AAV vectors can regulate insulin secretion without altering the insulin gene, thereby avoiding issues like hypoglycaemia.



Through the interview with Dr  Zhou, we have gained a further understanding of the application and prospects of optogenetics in the treatment of diabetes. In this interview, we compared the blue-light therapy currently being conducted with the red-light therapy researched by Dr Zhou. The advantages and disadvantages of blue light-dependent switch therapy have also become clearer. Additionally, Dr Zhou introduced to us the functions and applications of AAV vectors, which may help our research take a big step forward.


3.1.4 Professor  Chunhua Qian

Professor Chunhua Qian, female, Department of Endocrinology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Associate Chief Physician, Doctor, Master Supervisor. She is good at scientific research and clinical treatment of diabetes, obesity, Thyroid disease and osteoporosis. She has undertaken multiple projects from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission and has published multiple papers. She is currently a member of the Neurology and Endocrinology Group of the Chinese Medical Association, a young member of the Endocrine Branch of the Shanghai Medical Association, and a young member of the Osteoporosis Special Branch of the Shanghai Medical Association.



(Figure 7 a&b . Interview with < professor  Chunhua Qian)

We interviewed Professor  Chunhua Qian to learn about the major problems and needs that diabetic patients are currently facing. Explore the effectiveness and limitations of existing treatment options for patients. Combined with the results of our previous investigations and interviews on diabetes and related blue light therapy techniques, Professor Qian could provide us with more integrated scientific and clinical expertise and feedback on our design.


Professor  Qian believes Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured because it leaves the patient with a complete lack of insulin. Pancreas transplants and stem cell transplants have been experimented with but found to be unworkable. Targeted regulation of the transplanted cells is not currently possible and rejection occurs. There are different treatments for different complications. For obese patients’ metabolic surgery will be used and regulated by diet. Patients who are pregnant cannot be treated with insulin because the health of the baby inside the patient has to be taken care of. Light therapy is currently used only in the rehabilitation phase of patients, it has not been established that light has no definite efficacy.


3.2 Visit the National Metabolic Management Centre

After the interview with Professor  Qian, she led us on a visit to the National Metabolic Management Centr e . During the visit, Professor  Qian also emphasized all treatments, medications and traumatizing treatments are in the last order of priority, and the first thing to consider is to improve the diet, physical activity and lifestyle. She also briefed us on the current status of research in their lab, emphasized the famous saying that "the superior doctor treats the unhealthy" and encouraged the team members to pursue a career in the medical profession.



(Figure 8 a-d . Visit the National Metabolic Management Centre)

Currently, they are researching the use of high-pressure injection of drugs, more commonly known as the use of high pressure to make the drug penetrate the skin into the body, but the efficiency has not yet reached the desired results. In addition, the research and development of oral insulin has reached the final stage of experimentation, and will soon be available, then you can painlessly ingest insulin. The more obvious and traditional symptoms of diabetes are dry mouth, excessive drinking, excessive urination, and weight loss. However, the onset of symptoms is now more abundant, which includes weakness, sudden heart attack, sudden brain attack and other phenomena.



After the interview and visit, we divided all the ideas briefly into food treatments as well as other treatments, specifically (1) Diet: The benefits of a scientific diet for the patient include reducing the burden on the pancreatic islets, correcting metabolic disorders, controlling weight within a reasonable range, and controlling blood glucose within a reasonable range. (2) Other attempts: A pulmonary inhalation insulin delivery system has been tried, but failed due to the absorption of the drug by the mucous membranes, resulting in a failure in the efficiency of drug delivery. The nation's lack of attention to physical health has instead focused more on the cost of treatment and monitoring. Diet is the key: monitoring is the guarantee; exercise is the means; education is the core; and medication is the weapon.


4. Pitch

After conducting preliminary research through surveys and interviews to understand the potential of blue light-dependent switch therapy and its safety considerations, we performed an initial business analysis of the product and drafted a business plan. We presented our business plan to professional business investors , Mr. Kong Yunjie who is the co-funder of Suzhou Wentai Pharmaceutical Technology Co., Ltd . We showed Mr.  Kong our business plan, which primarily included the results of PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis, and 4P analysis. Following that, we received Mr. Kong  professional advice on cost planning, product sales, and marketing design, among other matters.


(Figure 9. Pitch)

Important advice:

(1) At present, there are many products in the field of diabetes treatment and all of them are very well developed, how to promote this product through communication and education is crucial.

(2) The product is still in the animal experiment stage, and there is still a long way to go from animal experiments  to human application s , so we need to consider that the positioning of our product technology should be for drug development manufacturers rather than the clinical market.

(3) The positioning of the product should be based on different designs and target groups, and the limitations of this product and its mechanism of action should also be taken into account when designing it, which is relatively single for insulin secretion regulation.

(4) Presenting a good market logic and demonstrating advantages over similar products is significant in promoting new products.

(5) Finally, the production and promotion of any product requires a specific and detailed technology roadmap, which is lacking in this BP, and it is suggested to add it to the discussion.


5. Conclusion

(1) Despite the high prevalence of diabetes in China and globally, there is a lack of basic understanding among people regarding the classification and treatment of diabetes.

(2) The public lacks awareness about different types of diabetes and their treatments. Therefore, it is essential to conduct well-planned public education activities to promote behaviours related to public health.

(3) The use of -dependent switch therapy represents a relatively more effective combined strategy due to its higher specificity, lower side effects, precision, and the ability for timed and quantified treatment. As a result, it holds significant importance in the treatment of diabetes.

(4) Diabetes has different mechanisms of onset among its various types. -dependent switch therapy primarily targets the regulation of insulin secretion. Therefore, its effectiveness may need further evaluation and optimization for patients with insulin resistance and normal insulin secretion.

(5) Addressing the safety and efficiency of host cells is a key focus of future research and an area that needs further consideration in the design.

Our project will provide a more convenient and accurate way of monitoring blood glucose and delivering insulin for the type 2 diabetes patients, which comes with an insulin pump and devices such as bracelets.

The pump can directly detect the health of the body and measure blood sugar levels in real time, enabling patients to better manage their diabetes. The use of this insulin pump greatly simplifies the process of insulin therapy.

To implement our project, we plan to use the power of social media, as well as publish relevant papers on autoritative medical websites and collaborating with pharmaceutical companies.



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Nkonge, K. M., Nkonge, D. K., & Nkonge, T. N. (2023). Insulin Therapy for the Management of Diabetes Mellitus: A Narrative Review of Innovative Treatment Strategies. Diabetes Ther. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-023-01468-4 

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