It is exactly an year ago, I came across this term called ‘CRISPR’ and I had no clue that it would be the most vital Game changer then. From then, as every other Life science student, I was really very excited to have an opportunity to work with this technology. Today, though I may not get my hands on to use it, I can witness the magic happening in my lab with this hot player in the town.

Giving hopes to the unimaginable things and to the dream world, finally CRISPR has moved them from mere Science fiction to reality.

crispr-intro.png__420x453_q85_subsampling-2_upscaleThe Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is an adaptive bacterial immune system that allows them to detect viral DNA and destroy them. Everyday bacteria has to deal with a variety of viral infections, and it has only a few minutes to diffuse them before the viral has its hold upon the bacteria. Part of the system is a protein called Cas9, which seek out, cut and eventually degrade the viral DNA. But this system is modified to use it as an Genetic Engineering tool to cut specific sequences in genome of any other organism and not just the viral DNA.

Way back in 2013, when  Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier  worked on a small project studying about bacteria and flu, they did not have believed that it was a project that could be the greatest breakthrough in the scientific world. Their study on how bacteria fight viral infections led them to CRISPR. From then, Jennifer had been making hopes for this technology as it has no bounds. This came true when the Chinese scientists came out with the ‘Designer babies’. They showed it is possible to genome edit the human embryo to our will. The Philadelphians used CRISPR to remove the DNA from an integrated HIV virus from the human cells.

The beautiful ladies behind the breakthrough-Jennifer and Charpentier
The beautiful ladies behind the breakthrough-Jennifer and Charpentier

When many companies have started commercialising the technique and venture capitalists started pouring in more money, and with CRISPR in the hotseat, Jennifer along with her colleagues called for a global pause to cease the use of this technology on human embryo and think about the unintended consequences as well as the intended outcomes of this scientific breakthrough.

The Science has already moved faster than we imagined of. Very recently, week ago, the FDA and National Institute of Health with the Recombinant advisory committee has agreed to test CRISPR’s first ever human clinical trial to combat blood cancers like myeloma, melanoma and sarcoma. This is one huge step forward towards the future of Genome Engineering.

Genome engineered humans are not with us yet, but it is no longer science fiction”

With America waving its flag green, there are still controversies regarding the use of this technology. The advisory committee made sure the therapy is somatic and not germ line, thus leaving the gene pool undisturbed. The therapy aims in modifying the T-lymphocyte cells taken from the cancer patients and deleting a couple genes PD-1 and a TCR to go undetectable by the cancer cells and offer prolonged fight in destroying them. Troubleshooting at the laboratory with mice models, showed a decrease in the number of cancer cells to a greater extent than imagined of.

I am not writing this article to showlight the CRISPR’s human trial but its dynamism. CRSIPR technology can be used to enhance abilities of an organism including our own species. When I talk about enhancement, I am talking of abilities that were once a fiction(stronger muscles, bones, less cardiac diseases). Genome engineered animals and plants are happening right now. A week ago again the world sees the first CRISPR edited crop. I feel this is the time to think Science since finally this technology is moving towards Human genome engineering.

http://www.geneticengg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/JADwithCRISPR750.jpghttp://www.geneticengg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/JADwithCRISPR750-150x150.jpgSudharsan VaratharajanGenome engineeringCharpentier,CRISPR,Genome enginering,Jennifer doudna,T-cellsIt is exactly an year ago, I came across this term called ‘CRISPR’ and I had no clue that it would be the most vital Game changer then. From then, as every other Life science student, I was really very excited to have an opportunity to work with this...When Nature and Science meet, Magic happens !