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2021-11-22| Special

Study Advocates Cautious Application of CRISPR in Designing Therapeutics

by Arvind C. Shekhar
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CRISPR is a powerful technology that has enabled easy disruption of desired genes and has revolutionized the field of genome editing. CRISPR-based editing has been considered for various applications in medicine, but it also has its shortcomings such as off-target effects, generation of unexpected chromosomal alterations, or potential immunogenicity.

Studies have demonstrated that DSBs induced during CRISPR-based gene knockout can lead to a DNA damage response mediated by p53, a tumor-suppressor gene that initiates programmed cell death before the cells can become cancerous. Presently it is unclear whether p53 selection can happen broadly across multiple different cell types, and whether stronger p53 selection happens when certain genes or parts of the genome are targeted.

A recent study published in Nature Communications shows that CRISPR-Cas9 based gene-editing can confer a selective advantage to cells harboring mutations in genes associated with cancer irrespective of their cell types.

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