Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD
The gene-editing tool known as CRISPR may eventually enable oncology investigators to create methods for killing tumors directly—or even for preventing people from ever developing cancer—but thus far, the focus is on enhancing forms of immunotherapy already in clinical practice.
Figure. Components of the CRISPR-CAS9 System for Gene Editing
This interesting discovery became a practical tool in 2012, when a team led by Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, reported that investigators could make Cas9 chop up the DNA of any molecule they wanted, in a precise location, by deliberately inserting RNA into a CRISPR-carrying enzyme.1
The potential to dramatically change medical research bercame evident just 1 year later, when teams led by Feng Zhang, PhD, and George M. Church, PhD, discovered how to use CRISPR to exchange any DNA researchers wanted for any that they needed to chop out.2,3
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