Scientists develop a rapid gene-editing screen to find effects of cancer mutations
MIT News » CRISPR
by Anne Trafton | MIT News
3M ago
Tumors can carry mutations in hundreds of different genes, and each of those genes may be mutated in different ways — some mutations simply replace one DNA nucleotide with another, while others insert or delete larger sections of DNA. Until now, there has been no way to quickly and easily screen each of those mutations in their natural setting to see what role they may play in the development, progression, and treatment response of a tumor. Using a variant of CRISPR genome-editing known as prime editing, MIT researchers have now come up with a way to screen those mutations much more easily. Th ..read more
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Search algorithm reveals nearly 200 new kinds of CRISPR systems
MIT News » CRISPR
by Allessandra DiCorato | Broad Institute
7M ago
Microbial sequence databases contain a wealth of information about enzymes and other molecules that could be adapted for biotechnology. But these databases have grown so large in recent years that they’ve become difficult to search efficiently for enzymes of interest. Now, scientists at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health have developed a new search algorithm that has identified 188 kinds of new rare CRISPR systems in bacterial genomes, encompa ..read more
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Thousands of programmable DNA-cutters found in algae, snails, and other organisms
MIT News » CRISPR
by Jennifer Michalowski | McGovern Institute for Brain Research
8M ago
A diverse set of species, from snails to algae to amoebas, make programmable DNA-cutting enzymes called Fanzors — and a new study from scientists at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research has identified thousands of them. Fanzors are RNA-guided enzymes that can be programmed to cut DNA at specific sites, much like the bacterial enzymes that power the widely used gene-editing system known as CRISPR. The newly recognized diversity of natural Fanzor enzymes, reported Sept. 27 in the journal Science Advances, gives scientists an extensive set of programmable enzymes that might be adapted into ..read more
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Focus on function helps identify the changes that made us human
MIT News » CRISPR
by Greta Friar | Whitehead Institute
1y ago
Humans split away from our closest animal relatives, chimpanzees, and formed our own branch on the evolutionary tree about 7 million years ago. In the time since — brief, from an evolutionary perspective — our ancestors evolved the traits that make us human, including a much bigger brain than chimpanzees and bodies that are better suited to walking on two feet. These physical differences are underpinned by subtle changes at the level of our DNA. However, it can be hard to tell which of the many small genetic differences between us and chimps have been significant to our evolution. New research ..read more
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Researchers uncover a new CRISPR-like system in animals that can edit the human genome
MIT News » CRISPR
by Leah Eisenstadt | McGovern Institute for Brain Research | Broad Institute
1y ago
A team of researchers led by Feng Zhang at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has uncovered the first programmable RNA-guided system in eukaryotes — organisms that include fungi, plants, and animals. In a study published today in Nature, the team describes how the system is based on a protein called Fanzor. They showed that Fanzor proteins use RNA as a guide to target DNA precisely, and that Fanzors can be reprogrammed to edit the genome of human cells. The compact Fanzor systems have the potential to be more easily delivered to cel ..read more
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Gene-editing technique could speed up study of cancer mutations
MIT News » CRISPR
by Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
1y ago
Genomic studies of cancer patients have revealed thousands of mutations linked to tumor development. However, for the vast majority of those mutations, researchers are unsure of how they contribute to cancer because there’s no easy way to study them in animal models. In an advance that could help scientists make a dent in that long list of unexplored mutations, MIT researchers have developed a way to easily engineer specific cancer-linked mutations into mouse models. Using this technique, which is based on CRISPR genome-editing technology, the researchers have created models of several differe ..read more
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A simple paper test could offer early cancer diagnosis
MIT News » CRISPR
by Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
1y ago
MIT engineers have designed a new nanoparticle sensor that could enable early diagnosis of cancer with a simple urine test. The sensors, which can detect many different cancerous proteins, could also be used to distinguish the type of a tumor or how it is responding to treatment. The nanoparticles are designed so that when they encounter a tumor, they shed short sequences of DNA that are excreted in the urine. Analyzing these DNA “barcodes” can reveal distinguishing features of a particular patient’s tumor. The researchers designed their test so that it can be performed using a strip of paper ..read more
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Funding to Daniel Anderson’s lab will advance research on new delivery technology for RNA vaccines and therapies
MIT News » CRISPR
by Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
1y ago
Sanofi will provide $25 million over five years to the lab of MIT Professor Daniel Anderson, to support the lab’s efforts to develop next-generation delivery technology for messenger RNA. Anderson, who is a professor of chemical engineering and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and others in his lab will use the funding to develop delivery technology for RNA vaccines as well as RNA that can be used for CRISPR-based genome editing. “Messenger RNA therapeutics have enormous medical potential, but new delivery tec ..read more
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New nanoparticles can perform gene editing in the lungs
MIT News » CRISPR
by Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
1y ago
Engineers at MIT and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have designed a new type of nanoparticle that can be administered to the lungs, where it can deliver messenger RNA encoding useful proteins. With further development, these particles could offer an inhalable treatment for cystic fibrosis and other diseases of the lung, the researchers say. “This is the first demonstration of highly efficient delivery of RNA to the lungs in mice. We are hopeful that it can be used to treat or repair a range of genetic diseases, including cystic fibrosis,” says Daniel Anderson, a professor in MI ..read more
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A new control switch could make RNA therapies easier to program
MIT News » CRISPR
by Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
1y ago
Using an RNA sensor, MIT engineers have designed a new way to trigger cells to turn on a synthetic gene. Their approach could make it possible to create targeted therapies for cancer and other diseases, by ensuring that synthetic genes are activated only in specific cells. The researchers demonstrated that their sensor could accurately identify cells expressing a mutated version of the p53 gene, which drives cancer development, and turn on a gene encoding a fluorescent protein only within those cells. In future work, they plan to develop sensors that would trigger production of cell-killing pr ..read more
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