Know All the Developments Made With Gene Editing Techniques
Hardly any day goes by without news about all the developments in gene-editing techniques. There is truly a lot happening, and a huge section of society is very eager to know about the same. Moreover, since these advances are directly related to health, people are always keen to know more about it and explore.
Recent Developments in Gene Editing Technology
Genome editing techniques or commonly known as gene editing techniques are a particular group of technologies that have allowed scientists to change the genetic structure of the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) of a particular organism to manipulate its working. It’s quite an exciting genre that has been researched upon for a long time. With technological advancements, scientists can do this in a more modern way. The gene-editing technique helps to add, remove or change the genetic structure or material at a particular place located in the gene of a certain organism.
Also known as the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, to date, five different diseases can be treated by changing the organism’s genetic structure causing that particular disease.
These diseases are listed below:
By far, one of the most dangerous diseases in the history of humanity is Cancer. But technological advancements these days have helped neutralise the effect of Cancer, and humanity is finding new ways to combat the disease.
China has been the first user of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique to treat Cancer where a specific cell is removed from the affected part. The protein structures in that cell are appropriately manipulated to react properly to the drugs needed for cancer treatment. A minor number of cancer patients was initially tested. The test reports said that this type of treatment is entirely safe and can be done in the future with more advancements to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
The majority of the cases of blindness is due to heredity. This is caused by a genetic mutation, which makes the usage of CRISPR-Cas9 very relevant. This is because, through this gene-editing process, it becomes easy to target and modify that very particular gene. Additionally, these immune system activities are limited to the eye, which helps in circumventing the problems related to the times when the body rejects the CRISPR treatment.
There have been companies that are working on CRISPR therapy used for Leber congenital amaurosis, which is considered to be the most common cause for inherited childhood blindness. The primary aim of the treatment is to restore the function of sensitive light cells before children actually lose their entire sight by fixation of the common mutation which is behind this disease.
Another deadly virus that has affected humankind and is still probing many dangers is COVID-19 (CoronaVirus Disease-19). It has already killed millions of people around the globe and is still estimated to kill many.
But scientists at Stanford University have devised a modified version of the CRISPR-Cas9 method named the CRISPR-Cas13a, which targets the virus and breaks the chain so as not to damage the human lungs. The reports are positive as they have reduced the viral strength by 90% and have shown remarkable results. In addition, many universities worldwide have reported that the CRISPR-Cas13a technique, after further modifications, can be highly effective against most influenza viruses.
The gene-editing technique can treat AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome as it cuts the flow of HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus to the target area. As suggested by scientists, the virus remains inactive for a long time in the body. Using the gene-editing technique while the virus is inactive can be highly effective to reduce the potential threat it causes, which ultimately leads to fatality. The CCR5 gene is responsible for protection against HIV, and the gene-editing techniques are using this gene to manipulate the actual virus to stop it from affecting the human body.
This is a peculiar brain disease where the sequencing of the genes causes disruption in the brain’s thinking skills and affects areas of the brain which are responsible for the movement of limbs and changing of mood. This disease is caused because of the odd number of copies of the DNA sequence.
The modification of the CRISPR method is underway by scientists since the current method is deemed dangerous as it can cause off-target problems in the brain. But scientists and doctors believe that gene-editing techniques can be a revolutionary method to treat this disease which can be lethal.
Cystic fibrosis is a severe genetic disorder that disrupts the normal functioning of the respiratory system. Until a few years back, the source of cystic fibrosis was unknown. But the gene-editing techniques have helped to find it out as it is located in a CFTR gene. Various companies have devised different CRISPR methods to deal with cystic fibrosis based on the results published by Dutch researchers. Since cystic fibrosis affects different parts of the respiratory system, scientists and doctors expect to find other gene-editing techniques to treat them all.
Doctors and researchers believe that with even more modification in the gene-editing techniques, various diseases can be treated successfully. With all the technological advancements, the day is not far away when humanity will treat all major diseases with gene-editing techniques. Therefore, we should use such techniques for the better.
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