Monday, November 30, 2015

CRISPR-Cas9 facilitates a high-resolution view of the genetic vulnerabilities of a cell

Further to previous IPBiz posts on CRISPR (e.g., CRISPR is high profile in science, patents; competitor labeled a mere second comer), an article in GEN on work by Jason Moffat illustrates the value of CRISPR in cancer research, and in personalized medicine.

From GEN:

Because different cancers have different mutations, they tend to rely on different sets of genes to survive. By turning genes off in five different cancer cell lines, including brain, retinal, ovarian, and two kinds of colorectal cancer cells, Dr. Moffatt’s team learned that each tumor relies on a unique set of genes that can be targeted by specific drugs. Essentially, the team identified distinct sets of "smoking gun" genes for each of the tested cancers. Each set may prove to be susceptible to different drugs.


Thus, rigorous identification of human cell line fitness genes using a high-complexity CRISPR-Cas9 library affords a high-resolution view of the genetic vulnerabilities of a cell.”

The authors also demonstrated that distinct genetic signatures can be used to predict differential drug response. Specifically, they found that metformin, a widely prescribed diabetes drug, successfully killed brain cancer cells and those of one form of colorectal cancer. The same drug, however, was useless against the other cancers studied.

Similarly, the antibiotics chloramphenicol and linezolid were effective against one form of colorectal cancer, but not against brain or other cancers studied. These data illustrate the clinical potential of the data in pointing to more precise treatments for the different cancers—and suggest the value of personalized medicine.

link to GEN article:


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