People have long been searching for a cancer cure and it looks like the time has come. The researchers at Griffith University finally found a way to cure cervical cancer in mice using CRISPR.
According to Professor Nigel McMillan from Menzies Health Institute Queensland, the feat was a first in curing any cancer using the gene-editing technology.
Gene-EditingTreats cervical cancer
The cancer tumors were treated with CRISPR-Cas9 in vivo where extra DNA was introduced to the cancer-causing gene in cancer cells. This caused a misread thereby putting a stop in its production. This then causes the cancer cells to die.
The procedure is like adding extra letters to a word to confuse the spellchecker. As a result, they couldn’t continue to thrive thus putting an end to their production.
The results of the study were very promising as the gene-edited mice showed no tumors, no inflammation, and have 100% survival. Their next step would be to measure any gene changes in the mice.
According to research, almost all cervical cancers are caused by a human papillomavirus infection (HPV). Professor McMillan also added that persistent infection with high-risk HPV is responsible for 99.7% of cervical cancer cases. Once infected, the HPV integrates the E6 and E7 oncogene —the genes responsible for causing cancer—into the human genome. This drives and sustains cervical cancer.
Gene-editing treatment for other cancers
Griffith University scientists are already looking into human trials of gene therapy in the next five years. The use of CRISPR has been helping scientists rapidly and accurately ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ genes into DNA. With every successful step they take, other cancers may soon be treated and we may soon be able to declare it as a thing of the past. All the researchers have to do is to know the right genes.