The latest buzzword in the health sciences, CRISPR is making a mark in the world of therapeutics by editing a genome, removing or correcting disease-causing genes or inserting new ones that could hypothetically cure diseases, including cancer. CRISPR seems to be the most precise method for editing genes. However, CRISPR possesses both potential benefits and risks. Two new important CRISPR studies have been performed recently, one by University of California, San Francisco in which CRISPR operates through electrical fields and the other by Wellcome Sanger Institute in England in which damages of CRISPR have been elaborated.
CRISPR is now stepping into the realm of clinical application with still only less number of patients receiving the treatment. CRISPR is being used to create cell lines and laboratory animals with key genetic characteristics that help to study human diseases thoroughly and edit human genes. Viruses are needed to be modified to transport CRISPRs inside the nucleus and this is a time taking phenomenon. To overcome this problem, “electroporation” is done in which the job of viruses is performed by electrical stimulation. In the other study, harmful aspects of CRISPR have been discussed like snipping too much and cutting out unwanted parts of the DNA. But, this study was carried out on mice that might give different results in humans. Moreover, if the “rigorous safety review” is not passed, no clinical trial could begin in Europe and U.S.
The cancer patients must understand that CRISPR treatments are experimental and offered at research hospitals to patient-volunteers who have well-defined cancer types. Scientists are really optimistic about the future success of CRISPR technology in curing cancer. Many scientists are collaborating with each other to engineer cells to treat a variety of cancers via CRISPR without requiring viruses. CRISPR will soon arrive as a mainstream treatment quickening its entry into clinical studies.