New Gene Editing Method for Cancer

Researchers have developed an efficient, precise, and quicker method to remove genes from white blood cells using electrical fields, according to a report in The New York Times based on research published in Nature. If replicated, this new gene editing method could be used to treat cancer, HIV, and autoimmune conditions. 

The researchers developed a CRISPR/Cas9 genome-targeting system that does not require viral vectors, allowing rapid and efficient insertion of large DNA sequences (>1 kilobase) at specific sites in the genomes of primary human T cells, permitting individual or multiplexed modification of endogenous genes. They engineered T-cells to recognize human melanoma cells in mice and also corrected the T-cells of three children with a rare mutation in the laboratory. 

In theory, a speedier editing process may result in treatment for almost any type of cancer. “What takes months or even a year may now take a couple weeks using this new technology,” said Fred Ramsdell, vice president of research at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco. 

Source: New York Times