Scientists are saying that gene hacking techniques recently used for the first time in human cells could one day lead to doctors shredding up and destroying viruses such as hepatitis B or herpes inside human cells.
This new technique is referred to as CRISPR-Cas3. Once you hear about the CRISPR tech, it is normally the Cas9 variety. A university published press release by Cornell Researchers suggests that it could be used in the cure of viral diseases such as Herpes and Hepatitis.
Long stretches of the human DNA were identified and shred using Cas3. This is in accordance to research that was published last week in the journal Molecular Cell.
DNA sequences were located and whole stretches deleted using the new method. This is in contrast to the way CRISPR-Cas9 located and snipped genetic material.
The use of this method could lead to scientist learning quickly what the long stretches of the genetic information do. It could also help in knowing how the long stretches of genetic information interact with various diseases. This also implies that viral DNA could be attacked.
Ailong Ke, a Cornell molecular biologist said that their lab had spent the last ten year trying to figure out the way CRISPR-Cas9 worked. He said that he was thrilled since he and his colleagues were finally able to demonstrate its activity of genome editing in human cells.
He said that they could make their tools target these viruses very exclusively and be able to wipe them out very effectively. Theoretically, a cure for the viral diseases could be produced using these tools.
Controlling the amount of DNA the new CRISPR deletes is a huge limitation at the moment. Researchers will however, be working on this.
Ke said that it would not be possible to precisely define the deletion boundaries. That happens to be the shortcoming once it comes to therapeutics.
- Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet
- Potential Application of the CRISPR/Cas9 System against Herpesvirus Infections
- Robitzski, F. D. (2019, 04 18). Science alert. Retrieved 04 19, 2019, from www.sciencealert.com: https://www.sciencealert.com/newly-invented-application-of-crispr-could-actually-cure-herpes-one-day