CRISPR cutting edge may be dangerous precipice

Xavier Symons | June 16, 2018 | Bioedge.org

Does CRISPR cause cancer?

CRISPR-Cas9-biologistCRISPR-Cas9 technology has been heralded as one of the biggest breakthroughs in biomedical research of the past half-century. The technology has already been used in agriculture to increase crop yields and improve nutritional quality, while in biomedicine scientists are utilising it to study disease aetiology and progression, with the hope of one day assisting with the prevention and treatment of conditions ranging from cystic fibrosis and hemophilia to HIV and cancer.

Ironically, two new papers have been released that suggest that cells that have been successfully edited using CRISPR technology may have a higher likelihood of triggering cancer.

The two papers -- published in Nature Medicine by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- indicate that some methods of CRISPR editing are dependent on the dysfunction of a gene known as p53. P53 is a gene that helps cells to repair (or, alternatively, self-destruct) when their DNA has been damaged. The reason why CRISPR success rates are often extremely low is because properly-functioning P53 disrupts the DNA editing process. Where CRISPR is successful, it is often associated with a dysfunction in p53, as the p53 would otherwise disrupt the edit or destroy the cell. Read more.

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...and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ... the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind ...the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1

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