Sunday, April 15, 2018

Gene Editing a close reality for patient applications

Gene editing is not a new concept or reality, but the application for wide use in humans for therapeutic needs is not. At the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry has been conducting research on a new method for Gene editing that is more accurate. CRISPR/Cas9 was a huge breakthrough back in 2015, that paved the way. CRISPR/Cas9 created from strep bacteria, it is an old defense for bacteria that once the information of a bacteriophage has been stored, it uses it to find and put an end to the new invaders by snipping its DNA (Hubbard). This is only as accurate as 1 percent and that when coupled with more then a trillion cells in humans is a lot that is roughly minimally about ten million errors that CRISPR can create. Now instead of using a natural guide molecule and replacing it with a synthetic one (BNA) bridged nucleic acid, Basil Hubbard from Canada Research Chair in Molecular Therapeutics and an assistant professor in the University of Alberta department of Pharmacology, who led the study used that technique. This technique acts as a guide for Cas9 and can improve the specificity by over 10,000 times, said Hubbard. Gene therapy has ways to go but some day in the future will be able to treat and cure many different kinds of genetic diseases.


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