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Gene editing: cancer's code breaker
The Gene Editing Institute at ChristianaCare, the first institute of its kind in the nation embedded into a community cancer center, is conducting breakthrough research using the CRISPR gene editing tool and partnering with community colleges in a curriculum to educate future scientists.
Investigators at the Gene Editing Institute said their new “cell-free” CRISPR technology is the first CRISPR tool capable of making multiple edits to DNA samples “in vitro,” which means in a test tube or petri dish. It could allow researchers to take fragments of DNA extracted from human cells, put them into a test tube, and quickly and precisely engineer multiple changes to the genetic code, according to a study published in the CRISPR Journal.
The advance could have immediate value as a diagnostic tool, replicating the exact genetic mutations found in the tumors of individual cancer patients. Mutations that cause cancer to spread can differ from patient to patient, and being able to quickly identify the correct mutation affecting an individual can allow clinicians to implement a more targeted treatment strategy.