Chemical and life sciences firm MilliporeSigma has developed a new method for editing CRISPR genome which the company said provides researchers with more experimental options and rapid results that can help in speeding up drug development.
The new technique, called proxy-CRISPR, is able to access previously unreachable areas of the genome, according to the company.
“With more flexible and easy-to-use genome editing technologies, there is greater potential in research, bioprocessing, and novel treatment modalities,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. “… MilliporeSigma’s new technology is just one example of our commitment to solving challenges in the genome editing field, and we will continue to make CRISPR research a priority.”
CRISPR genome editing technology is advancing treatment options for some of the toughest medical conditions faced today, including chronic illnesses and cancers for which there are limited or no treatment options, according to MilliporeSigma.
The applications of CRISPR are far ranging from identifying genes associated with cancer to reversing mutations that cause blindness.
CRISPR enables genome editing using an enzyme called Cas9 to cut DNA, but this has limited targeting abilities.
This limitation led to MilliporeSigma’s focus on proxy-CRISPR.
Most natural CRISPR systems, found in bacteria, cannot work in human cells without significant re-engineering.
However, proxy-CRISPR provides a rapid and simple method to increase their usability without the laborious need to re-engineer native CRISPR proteins.
MilliporeSigma has filed several patent applications on the proxy-CRISPR technology.
These patent applications directed to the proxy-CRISPR technology are just some of several CRISPR patent application filings made by the company since 2012.
MilliporeSigma’s research on proxy-CRISPR, “Targeted Activation of Diverse CRISPR-Cas Systems for Mammalian Genome Editing via Proximal CRISPR Targeting,” was published in the April 7, 2017, edition of Nature Communications.