Can light-activated CRISPR lead to new treatments for cancer, diabetes?

mzi ota na
Image: Yujun Song/Nanjing University

Engineers are making their mark on biotech’s hottest commodity. Chinese scientists [April 3] reported that they can control the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 with light.

Physically delivering CRISPR-Cas9 into a cell typically requires hitching the complex to a virus. … The strategy works, but using viruses as a delivery method can cause problems, such as provoking cancer or an immune response.

Researchers have proposed several alternative delivery materials, including gold nanoparticles, black phosphorus, metal-organic frameworks, graphene oxide, and various nanomaterials. These methods avoid some of the pitfalls of viruses, but still don’t give scientists control over the timing of gene editing.

That’s where light comes in. The authors of the new report anchored CRISPR-Cas9 to light-converting nanoparticles using a light-sensitive chemical compound. Then, by exposing the particles to light, the scientists triggered the release of the CRISPR-Cas9 machinery from the nanoparticles, delivering them to cells on demand.

Related article:  Neurologist Steven Novella: Here's what latest science says about glyphosate-cancer link

The system is smart not only because the timing of the release of CRISPR-Cas9 can be controlled, but also because it can be delivered fairly deep into the body, and controlled remotely.

The researchers hope to apply the tool not only to cancer, but also Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, says [Yujun Song, an author of the paper.]

Read full, original post: Scientists Control CRISPR With Light

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Nigeriacotton

Video: We can ‘finally’ grow GMOs—Nigerian farmer explains why developing countries need biotech crops

Nigerian farmer Patience Koku discusses the GMO crop trials she is conducting on her farm, and why growers can "rise ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend