In the history of life sciences, never before such a great discovery has been made, which will potentially change the way, we deal with aspects of life sciences particularly in medicine, therapeutics, food and agriculture. CRISPR-Cas, the gene editing technology, has been described as the greatest transformative technology of the year 2015, in the prestigious science journal Nature.
CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat and Cas for CRISPR associated proteins, which were identified as unusual sequences in the bacterial genome by Ishano et al, in the year, 1987 and subsequently named as CRISPR, by Jansen in 2002. CRISPR acted as a prokaryotic defence system against invading bacteria and virus, consisting of short repetitions of sequences in the genome followed by spacer sequences. Short sequences were copied from first time invading microbes and were integrated in the CRISPR genetic library. Whenever, a second round of microbial invasion took place, small RNAs, produced by transcription of CRISPR genetic library, together with mobilized Cas endo-nuclease enzyme, would cleave and destroy the invading pathogens. However, it was not until 2012, when the actual value of the CRISPR-Cas mechanism was elucidated, in genetically editing prokaryotic cell in the lab.
There have been rapid advances in using CRISPR technology in human therapeutics. A research group from China, for example, created history recently by injecting a patient having aggressive lung cancer with edited PD-1 gene, which could defeat cancer. Few think that this is going to be a sputnik 2.0, a biomedical cold war between China and the USA . This is not the only Case. Peking University also hopes to start clinical trials with CRISPR in renal, prostate and bladder cancer subject to necessary approvals and funding. Please do refer to the link below to see how Gene -editing will change the world around us.