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Since its discovery as part of the adaptive immune system in bacteria, CRISPR-Cas9 has become an invaluable tool for genome editing with the potential to transform cancer therapies.
The ability to alter specific bases in DNA enables comprehensive examination of molecular pathways and the part they play in cancer with incomparable resolution. The technology is also routinely applied in cancer modelling where it enables the production of faithful models of disease, capturing the specific molecular aberrancies of different cancers.
As a therapy, CRISPR-Cas9 has demonstrated promises ex vivo, in oncolytic viruses and immunotherapies; however its use in vivo is also being explored by targeting genes essential for cancer cell viability, promoting apoptosis or cell cycle arrest in tumours and thereby improve patients’ survival.
Overall, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has greatly advanced cancer research and has the potential to immensely transform cancer therapies.