A new study by Tel Aviv University (TAU) has uncovered the risks of using the Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR DNA editing method, proving that it could damage the genome.
Israeli scientists studied the impact of CRISPR therapies, which are already used to treat cancer, liver and bowel diseases as well as genetic syndromes, according to TAU’s press release.
The researchers detected a loss of genetic material of up to 10% in the treated white blood cells. This could lead to destabilization of the genome, which could in turn cause cancer.
“Such chromosomal disruptions can destabilize the genome, and we often see this in cancer cells. makes tumors malignant,” Dr. Uri said. Ben-David and his research associate Eli Reuveni, who are members of the team conducting the study, explained.
CRISPR is a revolutionary technology developed almost a decade ago to edit DNA by cleaving its sequences at certain points, removing “unwanted segments” or repairing them. The method has proven effective in treating a range of illnesses.
The TAU scientists said their intention was to shed light on the potential risks of the CRISPR method, despite the technology’s “substantial benefits”.
“In fact, in other studies, we have developed CRISPR-based treatments, including a promising therapy for AIDS. We even created two companies – one using CRISPR and the other deliberately avoiding this technology. in other words, we are advancing this highly effective technology, while warning of its potential dangers,” said Dr. Adi Barzel, who led the study, and Ph.D. student Alessio Nahmad said, adding that the essence of science was not to “choose sides”, but to examine both positive and negative aspects.