Genetic engineering can be used to kill the deadliest cancers

Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have shown that the CRISPR-Cas9 system is very effective in the treatment of metastatic cancers, an important step towards a cure for cancer.

Scientists have developed a new delivery system based on lipid nanoparticles that specifically targets cancer cells and destroys them through genetic engineering.

The system, called CRISPR LNPs, carries a genetic messenger – RNA messenger (mRNA) – that codes for the enzyme CRISPR Cas9 to act like molecular scissors that cut the DNA of targeted cells, MedicalXpress notes.

“This is the world’s first study to show that the CRISPR genetic engineering system can be used to effectively treat cancer in living animals,” said Prof. Peer, vice president of research and development and head of the Precision Nanomedicine Laboratory from school. Shmunis from Biomedicine and Cancer Research, TAU.

“That must be emphasized this is not chemotherapy. There are no side effects and a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again. The Cas9 molecular scissors cut through the DNA of the cancer cell, neutralize it and prevent permanent replication, ”explains the professor.

To investigate the feasibility of using technology to treat cancer, Prof. Pear and his team identify two of the most deadly cancers: glioblastoma and metastatic ovarian cancer. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer, with a life expectancy of 15 months after diagnosis and a five-year survival rate of only 3%.

The researchers showed that a single treatment with CRISPR-LNP doubled the average life expectancy of mice with glioblastoma tumors, improving their survival rate by about 30%.

“CRISPR technology is capable of identifying and modifying any genetic segment and has revolutionized our ability to disrupt, repair or even replace genes in a personalized way,” said Peer.

“Despite its extensive use in research, clinical implementation is still in its infancy as an efficient delivery system is needed to safely and accurately use CRISPR to target cells. The delivery system we have developed focuses on DNA-” an innovative treatment for aggressive cancers that currently have no effective treatments, ”concludes the researcher.

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