CRISPR Reverses Huntington’s Disease in Mice | GEN

  Huntington disease is an inherited, progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking ability (cognition). [NIH]
The potential of genome-editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas9, to alleviate disease burden has ignited the imagination for thousands of researchers looking for new therapeutic strategies. Scientists were very quickly able to show that this gene-altering technique could eliminate disease-causing mutations within a variety of tissues in vitro. More recently, CRISPR is being positioned to help treat patients directly, with clinical trials in humans already under way in China and soon to begin in the U.S. Yet, no current clinical trials feature drugs made using the technique for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Now, a group of investigators led by scientists at Emory University is hoping to open up new avenues of neurodegenerative research and rapidly move toward human trials after the release of their new findings. The research team showed that the CRISPR/Cas9 system could snip part of a gene that produces toxic protein aggregates in the brains of 9-month-old mice used as a model for Huntington’s disease. Moreover, the scientists noted that when they looked at the brain region where the vector was applied, some weeks later, the aggregated proteins had almost disappeared. Amazingly, the motor abilities of the mice had improved, although not to the level of control mice.            

Findings from the new study were published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation through an article entitled, “CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing ameliorates neurotoxicity in mouse model of Huntington’s disease.”"

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