Scientists manage to kill cancer cells with ground-breaking DNA editing

Israeli scientists have just made a major breakthrough in cancer research, saying they have successfully eliminated cancerous cells in mice thanks to Nobel Prize-winning tech.

The CRISPR Cas-9 gene editing system lets experts make laser-sharp alterations to DNA.

Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their incredible findings this year.

And now, thanks to their system, Tel Aviv University scientists have managed to treat cancer in animals, as per Professor Dan Peer whose paper was made public in the Science Advances journal.

Peer, who is the head of the Laboratory of Precision NanoMedicine at the university, said the process is a “more elegant chemotherapy” and assured the Times of Israel there are “no side effects”.

“We believe that a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again,” Peer said.

“This technology can extend the life expectancy of cancer patients and we hope, one day, cure the disease,” he added.

He also said the procedure can eliminate a tumor in a matter of three sessions.

“This technology can physically cut the DNA in cancerous cells, and those cells will not survive.”

Peer has his hopes up that the groundbreaking method will soon replace chemotherapy – which is known to have damaging side effects for patients. 

Peer and his team are now planning to create a treatment for all types of cancer in humans in a matter of two years.

The trials were done on mice who had two of the worst types of the disease – glioblastoma, brain cancer, and metastatic ovarian cancer.

The mice that were treated were then given a double life expectancy from the rest, with a 30% survival rate, as per Science Advances.

Today, the system is only being implemented for rare cell diseases that have already been taken out of patients’ bodies.

A biopsy would need to be done for each patient in order for the treatment to be personalized. Peer said that a general or direct injection into the tumor would be administered.

He added that the injection contains messenger RNA that encodes the “tiny scissor function” for snipping the patient’s DNA. The system identifies cancer cells and a lipid nanoparticle.

“When we first spoke of treatments with messenger RNA twelve years ago, people thought it was science fiction,” Peer recalled.

“I believe that in the near future, we will see many personalised treatments based on genetic messengers, for cancer and various genetic diseases.

“The technology needs to be further developed, but the main thing is we have shown that this can kill cancer cells.”

To learn more about the system, please see the video below.

What are your thoughts on this groundbreaking discovery? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it of value.

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