Friday, 12 May 2017

New Model Could Speed Up Colon Cancer Research

MIT

Colon cancer buster

Gene editing science has been an area of growth for genetic engineers and researchers across the globe. With progressing research studies, newer treatment options are being devised and successfully delivered. One such research conducted by MIT researchers have used new gene-editing systems to generate colon tumors, resembling human tumors. A new approach to a pre-existing method in genetic sciences. This paves the path for further investigation into knowledge about disease progression.

Metastases and detection:

The highest cause of death due to colon cancer is metastases, which is difficult to detect. The disease progression is so high, that fatality is hard to control even after various treatment procedures. A recent study by the director of Koch Institute, Tyler Jacks, uses similar CRISPR- based technology to build mouse models of the disease, revolutionizing research in the field of oncology.

Various approaches have been used for modeling cancer, one of them being the usage of cancer cell lines in lab dishes. This poses a lot of limitations. Another method used is mutations, which is then genetically engineered in the mice.

Recent studies involving CRISPR, which consists of DNA- cutting enzyme Cas9 and short RNA guide strands, which specialize in targeting specific genome sequences. Using the same method scientists can make targeted mutations, by either removing or adding genes. The genes for Cas9 are packaged into lentiviruses, which are then injected into target organs of the mice, transferred by colonoscopy.

What follows?

Gene editing makes this procedure possible. By virtue of which, after establishment of the tumor, mutations can be added or deleted, making the study process more complicated and informative. The information includes the aspects of metastases, initiation and progression of the tumor from liver to various parts of the body. This also helps in studying the pattern of metastases which again is peculiar in human colon.

The MIT team delivered organoids with a mutated form of the APC gene, which when established, were introduced in a mutated form of KRAS, commonly found in colon and many other cancers. These new approaches have cut short research time and has sped up the process of gene editing.

Implications:

Gene editing, this newest form of development in the field of oncology helps in drug testing, making it more successful. This ensures widening of treatment options. Factors such as age, metabolism, sex etc are also taken into consideration while conducting the study. This helps scientists choose best options for individual patients.

The mice are studied over a period of time to gain results, even though the study is supposed to be prolonged, various new discoveries and science have made it easier and faster. This helps in minimizing of side-effects post treatment and other health implications by three folds.

Genetic research shows a progressive growth over the years, showing immense scope and employment options. Diseases are getting detected sooner and treatment delivered on time. This in turn saves a lot of time, cost, manpower and patient care excels automatically.

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