At-home diagnostic tests powered by CRISPR soon could help diagnose infectious diseases and even cancer

Image: Broad Institute/MIT/Harvard

Today when you get sick, you need to make an appointment to see your doctor.

But in the near future, new diagnostic tests could make it possible to save time and money by skipping a visit to the doctor altogether. Similar to an at-home pregnancy test, such diagnostics could render a clear positive or negative result within minutes. That result could be sent via an app on your phone to your doctor, who could then immediately write a prescription or suggest a course of care.

These are the ideas driving Mammoth Biosciences and Sherlock Biosciences, two startups that are both developing paper tests that use CRISPR — a breakthrough technology best known as a gene-editing tool — to rapidly diagnose disease.

Related article:  UK biotech firm Genus seeks approval to sell virus-resistant CRISPR pigs in China, world’s biggest pork market

[CRISPR] can be programmed to look for any sequence of genetic code, such as a virus, a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or even a genetic mutation associated with cancer. Both Mammoth and Sherlock want to use that versatility to create new tests for conditions that currently can’t be easily diagnosed.

If that happens, the bicoastal CRISPR race will take on a new dimension — not merely about how we cure disease, but how we discover it in the first place.

Read full, original post: CRISPR Could Be the Future of Disease Diagnosis

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