Researchers from the Tel Aviv University in Israel have successfully used Nobel Prize-winning technology to kill cancer cells in mice for the first time. According to reports, this game-changing biotechnical machine is a gene-editing tool that alters DNA threads like an easy-to-use pair of scissors.
CRISPR/Cas9 is a state-of-the-art gene-editing tool that gives scientists a microscopic set of genetic scissors, which can remove unwanted attachments. In addition to removing parts of a DNA thread, the instrument allows geneticists to add or edit out sections of the DNA sequence to see if it helps.
How does it work?
CRISPR was inspired by nature,. The idea behind its execution sequence came from a simple defense mechanism found in some microbes, such as bacteria.
In theory, to protect themselves from invaders like viruses, these microbes surround snippets of the intruder’s DNA and trap them in segments, which scientists now call CRISPRs.
Observing this little defense system live on a petri dish, scientists figured that the entire mechanism had the makings of a versatile gene-editing tool. Now, researchers from Tel Aviv University have successfully utilized CRISPRs to kill cancer cells in mice for the first time.
According to reports, the team of researchers stated that the CRISPR instrument targets cancer cells and destroys them by genetic manipulation. Renowned biotechnologist, Professor Dan Peer, was full of praise for this recent development. He said that the study is the first of its kind to prove that a CRISPR genome-editing system can treat a living animal effectively.
In a statement, Professor Peer said,
“It must be emphasized that this is not chemotherapy. There are no side effects, and a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again. The molecular scissors of Cas9 cut the cancer cell’s DNA, thereby neutralizing it and permanently preventing replication.”
The Israeli researchers used glioblastoma (the deadliest form of brain cancer) and metastatic ovarian cancer – two of the most aggressive forms of cancer – in their groundbreaking experiment.
After just one session of the CRISPR-LNP treatment, the team found that the mice’s life expectancy with glioblastoma had doubled. They further noticed that the overall survival rate increased by about 30 percent.
Mice infected with ovarian cancer showed similar results. Their overall survival rate jumped by 80 percent after the initial CRISPR-LNP treatment.
According to research papers, the CRISPR genome editing technology, capable of identifying and altering any genetic segment, has revolutionized our ability to disrupt, repair, or even replace genes in a personalized manner. The Tel Aviv team has now diverted their attention towards blood cancer and muscular dystrophy. They intend to check whether CRISPR/Cas9 works similarly or not.
Regardless of any results achieved in the pending experimental proceedings, the CRISPR/Cas9 is a brilliant new development in healthcare.