A Cornell researcher, who is a leader in developing a new type of gene editing CRISPR system, and colleagues have used the new method for the first time in human cells -- a major advance in the field.
The new system, called CRISPR-Cas3, can efficiently erase long stretches of DNA from a targeted site in the human genome, a capability not easily attainable in more traditional CRISPR-Cas9 systems. Though robust applications may be well in the future, the new system has the potential to seek out and erase such ectopic viruses as herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr, and hepatitis B, each of which is a major threat to public health.
"My lab spent the past ten years figuring out how CRISPR-Cas3 works. I am thrilled that my colleagues and I finally demonstrated its genome editing activity in human cells," said Ailong Ke, professor of molecular biology and genetics and a corresponding author of a paper published April 8 in the journal Molecular Cell. "Our tools can be made to target these viruses very specifically and then erase them very efficiently. In theory, it could provide a cure for these viral diseases.This is a huge advance. To read more, click here.