A group of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh have managed for the first time to alter the gene CRISPR-Cas9 in the body and attack the center responsible for the development of cancer, writtes the magazine “Nature Biotechnology”.
This team, in a study conducted on mice, with the new method was able to prevent tumor growth and prolong the animal life. This method target the splicing of genes that occur when two genes are engaged in a hybrid, which often creates abnormal protein, which causes tumor.
The scientists have managed to merge these genes, called hybrid, by substituting the genes responsible for killing cancer cells.
“For the first time the modification of the genes is used to modify the merged genes. It is really exciting because it can be the basis for the development of an entirely new approach in the treatment of cancer”- said Gianni Hwa Lo, who led the team of researchers.
Once they managed to replace the genes, scientists inserted human tumors of prostate and liver into the mice. They were reduced by 30 percent and have stopped growing.
CRISPR-Cas9 is helping to find the “bad” gene in the DNA and replace it with another. It actually is a natural mechanism copied from the bacteria and their means of defense against viruses.
This technique was used earlier in the fight against cancer and for encouraging the immune system to attack only specific cancer cells. The advantage of this technique is that it does not destroy the healthy tissue because the merged genes occur only in the malignant cells.