Gene Editing Technique Helps Kill Cancer Cells

Posted: Mar 21 2017, 11:18am CDT | by , in Latest Science News

Gene Editing Technique Helps Kill Cancer Cells
Network of synthetic-lethal interactions connecting commonly mutated genes to potential drug targets. Credit: UC San Diego Health
  • Gene Editing allows for the Vanquishing of Weak Cancer Cells

Apparently, gene editing allows for the proper vanquishing of weak cancer cells.

Gene mutations besides causing a number of cancers also weaken cancer cells. This has lent researchers a chance to create drugs in the lab that vanquish cancer cells and spare the normal cells.

The term for this sort of cancer treatment is “synthetic lethality”. This method, developed by UC San Diego School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering researchers, has opened up 120 novel ways of making cancer medicines. Take the ovarian cancer drug which is called olaparib. It kills cancer cells via synthetic lethality. It basically inhibits a gene.

Many other cancers could be fought off using this methodology. Yet the issue which is the bone of contention in all this is that we do not know which gene mutations will cause lethality and which will cause the cells to live.

This confusion is responsible for the limited use of this technique at present. The novel gene editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9 was used by the scientists. A guide RNA was designed by the researchers in the lab.

It allowed for the target sequencing of a specific gene. The Cas9 enzyme is led to the specific spot where it snips off the DNA. Since the repair work that the cell then does on the snipped DNA is incomplete, the gene is switched off.

A gene editing technique was used by the scientists with two guide RNAs. One targeted a tumor suppressor gene. The other one targeted one that could be disrupted by a cancer drug.

73 genes in cervical cancer, lung cancer and kidney cells were used as the points of action for this system. The total gene combinations added upto 150,000. The results were shocking.

Over 120 novel synthetic-lethal interactions came to light. The relations between genes were found via this method. Biology and therapy both will benefit immensely from this knowledge. Cancer may finally be cured for good in the near future thanks to this new gene editing technique.

This new gene-editing technique got published in the journal Nature Methods.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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