CRISPR/Cas9 technology to inactivate cancer mutations, say scientists

“Mutations in cancer cells are identified at increasing speed through next generation sequencing, but we mostly do not know, which of these mutations are actually driving the disease and which ones are rather benign ” said Frank Buchholz, head of the study that appeared in the latest addition of the Journal of the National Cancer … Continue reading “CRISPR/Cas9 technology to inactivate cancer mutations, say scientists”

“Mutations in cancer cells are identified at increasing speed through next generation sequencing, but we mostly do not know, which of these mutations are actually driving the disease and which ones are rather benign ” said Frank Buchholz, head of the study that appeared in the latest addition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI). The authors first analyzed how many of the more than 500,000 reported cancer mutations could theoretically be targeted and found that 80% of the mutations could be cleaved with the currently most popular CRISPR/Cas9 system. The research group then demonstrated that they could specifically cleave a panel of common cancer mutations without significantly targeting the healthy, wildtype alleles. Moreover, expression of Cas9 together with the cancer-specific guide (g)RNAs was able to unmask mutations that drive cell growth and viability in cancer cell lines. Buchholz points out: “This is an important advance, because we can now rapidly separate driver from passenger mutations. This is currently a bottleneck in cancer research. Because each cancer shows a specific combination of many mutations, this scientific approach could improve cancer diagnostics as mutations that promote cancer growth could be specifically identified. Based on the obtained results an individualized therapy could be initiated.

Author: Joe Lovrek

Born in Houston, Raised in Trinity Texas

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