Will CRISPR’s promise force the organic industry to reconsider its opposition to gene-edited crops?

Opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops advanced by organic activist groups (and official organizations like the US National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) or the EU’s European Court of Justice) is based on the claim that recombinant DNA technology introduces genes from one species into another. That’s not natural, these critics contend. By this definition, though, gene-editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 are natural: They’re part of the immune system in many species of bacteria. Scientists are now using these tools to make specific changes (or edits) to the DNA of food crops and animals to boost their nutritional content or protect them from disease, without adding “foreign” genes to their genomes.

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MedTech

Nanostructures: Emerging as Effective Carriers for Drug Delivery

Article | July 11, 2022

Natural remedies have been employed in medicine since antiquity. However, a large number of them fail to go past the clinical trial stages. In vivo instability, poor solubility and bioavailability, a lack of target-specific delivery, poor absorption, and side effects of the medication are only a few of the problems caused by the use of large-sized materials in drug administration. Therefore, adopting novel drug delivery systems with targeted medications may be a solution to address these pressing problems. Nanotechnology has received tremendous attention in recent years and has been demonstrated to help blur the boundaries between the biological and physical sciences. With great success, it plays a vital part in enhanced medication formulations, targeted venues, and controlled drug release and delivery. Limitations of Traditional Delivery Trigger the Adoption of Nanoparticles The field of nanotechnology and the creation of drug formulations based on nanoparticles is one that is expanding and showcasing great potential. It has been thoroughly researched in an effort to develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment and to overcome the limitations of several diseases' current therapies. As a result, nanoparticles are being used to improve the therapeutic effectiveness and boost patient adherence to treatment by increasing medication bioavailability, drug accumulation at a particular spot, and reducing drug adverse effects. The nanoparticles could be transformed into intelligent systems housing therapeutic and imaging agents by manipulating their surface properties, size, correct drug load, and release with targeted drug delivery. Nanostructures facilitate the release of combination medications at the prescribed dose since they remain in the blood circulation system for a long time. Therefore, they result in fewer plasma fluctuations with decreased side effects. Due to their nanoscale, these structures can easily enter the tissue system, promote the absorption of drugs by cells, make medication administration more effective, and ensure that the medicine acts at the targeted location. The Way Ahead Nanomedicine and nano-delivery systems are a comparatively new but fast-evolving science in which nanoscale materials are used as diagnostic tools to deliver drug molecules at precisely targeted sites in a controlled manner. It is finding applications for the treatment of diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, cancer, ocular, AIDS, and diabetes, among others. With more research and technological advancement, these drug delivery solutions will open up huge opportunities for companies that work with them.

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Research

Immunology: A New Frontier in Medical Science

Article | July 11, 2022

Introduction Recent developments in the bioengineering of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revolutionized the treatment of numerous rheumatic and immunological disorders. Currently, several immunological disorders are successfully being targeted and treated using innovative medical techniques such as immunotherapy. Leading companies are increasingly investing in research activities to expand the usage and application of immunology for the treatment of various infectious diseases, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disorders, lupus, and psoriasis, leading companies are increasingly investing in research activities. Today, the efforts of researchers in immunology, with a long history of study and research, have borne fruit, as bioengineered mAbs are now being employed in clinical practices. Accelerating Investments: Paving the Way for Immunology The increasing prevalence of infectious diseases, cancer, and immune-mediated inflammatory disorders (IMIDs) is raising the need for more precise classification and an in-depth understanding of the pathology underlying these ailments. Numerous leaders in the biotechnology domain are thus focusing on undertaking numerous strategies, such as new facility launches and collaborations, to address the need by finding deeper inroads into immunology and its use in disease treatments. For instance, in 2022, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced the launch of a visionary research and innovation hub, the James P. Allison Institute, to find new roads in immunotherapy, develop new treatments, and foster groundbreaking science. These developments will result in better diagnosis through the use of selective biomarkers, and early detection of fatal diseases and their treatment, which will prevent complications from happening. Also, the identification of high-risk populations through a deeper understanding of genetic and environmental factors can assist in the prevention of disease through immunotherapy. The Way Forward Immunology has led to the development of biotechnology, making it possible to develop novel drugs and vaccines, as well as diagnostic tests, that can be used to prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide range of autoimmune, infectious, and cancerous diseases. With the rapid advancement in technology and the integration of artificial intelligence, immunology is finding its way into an array of domains and industries, encompassing several research areas including medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and space. Today, not only researchers but also leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies have recognized that conventional therapies with pharmaceutical and chemical products are being replaced by products derived from immunology. This is because they work well for health problems, are environmentally friendly, and are also emerging as a wealth-generating business in the medical field.

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Medical

Advancement in Genomics Accelerating its Penetration into Precision Health

Article | August 16, 2022

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology emphasizing the structure, editing, evolution, function, and mapping of genomes. It is creating deeper inroads across the precision health domain with the increasing introduction of advanced technologies such as quantum simulation, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and precise genome manipulation. As precision health focuses on providing the proper intervention to the right patient at the right time, genomics increasingly finds applications in human and pathogen genome sequencing in clinical and research spaces. Rising Hereditary Diseases Burden Paving the Way for Genomics in Precision Health In the last few years, a significant surge in the prevalence of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, obesity, baldness, and others has been witnessed across the globe. A history of family members with chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, hearing issues, and heart disease, can sometimes continue into the next generation. Hence, the study of genes is extensively being conducted for predicting health risks and early treatment of these diseases. It also finds use in CRISPR-based diagnostics and the preparation of precision medication for the individual. In addition, ongoing advancements in genomics are making it possible to identify different genetic traits that persuade people to more widespread diseases and health problems. The Emergence of Genomics Improves Disease Understanding Genomics refers to the study of the complete genetic makeup of a cell or organism. Increasing scientific research in the area substantially contributes to increasing knowledge about the human genome and assists in improving the ability to understand disease etiology, risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. On account of these improvements, innovative genomic technologies and tools are being developed to enable better precision health not only for the individual but for various regional populations as well. The Way Forward With growing preference for personalized medicine and an increasing need for more accurate pathogen detection and diagnostics, genomics is gaining huge popularity across the precision health domain. Also, increasing research activities for developing novel high-precision therapeutics and rising importance of gene study in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of infectious and genetic diseases will further pave the way for genomics in the forthcoming years.

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MedTech

Data Analytics: A Groundbreaking Technology in Biotech

Article | July 20, 2022

Biotechnology is a vast discipline of biology that employs diverse biological systems to create solutions that can significantly alter the ways in which they operate across various domains. That said, biotechnology is not a new notion. It has existed for millennia, with ancient civilizations using its earliest incarnations to cultivate crops and create alcoholic beverages. Today, the biotechnology industry has developed by leaps and bounds and has amassed a vast quantity of scientific data through study and research. Given the importance of data in the biotechnology business, it is not difficult to understand why biotech companies utilize data analytics. Modern data analytics tools have made it possible for researchers in the biotech industry to build predictive analytics models and gain knowledge about the most efficient approaches to accomplish their desired goals and objectives. Data analytics is increasingly being adopted by biotech businesses to better understand their industry and foresee any problems down the road. How is Data Analytics Revolutionizing Fields in Biotechnology? Today's business and scientific fields greatly benefit from data. Without the analysis of vast information libraries that provide new insights and enable new innovations, no industry can really advance. Being highly reliant on big data analytics, biotech is not an exception in this regard. With the tools and methods that help scientists systematize their findings and speed up their research for better and safer results, data analytics is making deeper inroads into the biotechnology industry. It is emerging as a crucial link between knowledge and information and is extensively being used for purposes other than just examining the information that is already available. The following are a few of the cutting-edge biotechnology applications of data analytics Genomics and Disease Treatment Pharmaceutical Drug Discovery Drug Recycling and Safety Agriculture and Agri-products Environmental Damage Mitigation Data Analytics Possibilities in Biotechnology With data analytics becoming an integral part of how biotech businesses operate, biotechnologists and related stakeholders need to understand its emergence and crucial role. Data analytics has opened new frontiers in the realm of biotechnology. Thanks to developments in data analytics, research and development activities that once took years may now be accomplished in a matter of months. Also, now scientists have access to biological, social, and environmental insights that can be exploited to create more effective and sustainable products. By understanding the importance of data-related tools and techniques applications, biotech companies are aiming to invest in the popularizing technology to stay updated in the fast-paced biotechnology industry.

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Related News

CRISPR Therapeutics, Vertex Report First Data from Trials of Gene-Editing Treatment CTX001

GEN | November 19, 2019

CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals today reported preliminary, mostly-positive safety and efficacy data from the first two patients enrolled in two Phase I/II trials assessing their CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited therapy CTX001 for a pair of blood disorders—the first clinical trial of a gene-editing candidate sponsored by U.S. companies. “We are very encouraged by these preliminary data, the first such data to be reported for patients with beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease treated with our CRISPR/Cas9 edited autologous hematopoietic stem cell candidate CTX001,” CRISPR Therapeutics CEO Samarth Kulkarni, PhD, said in a statement. “These data support our belief in the potential of our therapies to have meaningful benefit for patients following a one-time intervention. We continue to enroll these studies as we drive forward to develop CRISPR/Cas9 therapies as a new class of transformative medicines to treat serious diseases.” Added Vertex Chairman, President and CEO Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD: “The data we announced today are remarkable and demonstrate that CTX001 has the potential to be a curative CRISPR/Cas9-based gene-editing therapy.”

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CRISPR Gene Editing Ability Improved by Specific Modifications of tracrRNA

GEN | November 11, 2019

Scientists at the City of Hope believe they may have found a way to sharpen the fastest, cheapest, and most accurate gene editing technique, CRISPR-Cas9, so that it can more successfully cut out undesirable genetic information. This improved cutting ability could one day fast-track potential therapies for HIV, sickle cell disease, and, potentially, other immune conditions. “Our CRISPR-Cas9 design may be the difference between trying to cut a ribeye steak with a butter knife versus slicing it with a steak knife,” said Tristan Scott, PhD, lead author of the study and a staff research scientist at City of Hope’s Center for Gene Therapy. “Other scientists have tried to improve CRISPR cutting through chemical modifications, but that’s an expensive process and is like diamond-coating a blade. Instead, we have designed a better pair of scissors you can buy at any convenience store.” The study, “Improved Cas9 activity by specific modifications of the tracrRNA,” published in Scientific Reports is the first time scientists have systematically gone through the guide RNA sequence to change it and improve CRISPR-Cas9 technology, Scott said. The Kevin Morris Lab at City of Hope has filed a patent application claiming this improved CRISPR-Cas9 design, which could result in a doubling of activity but the exact amount was dependent on the target site, Scott said.

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A Breath of Fresh CRISPR

GEN | November 04, 2019

Genome editing materials can’t just breeze into cells. Or can they? Even cells so well defended as lung and airway cells may admit wisps of genome editing proteins such as CRISPR-associated nucleases. All that’s needed is an inspired delivery method. One possibility is the aerosolization of amphiphilic peptides. Amphiphilic peptides combine hydrophilic and lipophilic properties and facilitate the translocation of proteins across membranes. These peptides are being evaluated for various applications, including genome editing. In fact, scientists from the University of Iowa, in collaboration with scientists from Feldan Therapeutics, recently used engineered amphiphilic peptides to deliver genome editing nucleases and ribonucleoproteins to cultured human airway epithelial cells and mouse lungs.

Read More

CRISPR Therapeutics, Vertex Report First Data from Trials of Gene-Editing Treatment CTX001

GEN | November 19, 2019

CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals today reported preliminary, mostly-positive safety and efficacy data from the first two patients enrolled in two Phase I/II trials assessing their CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited therapy CTX001 for a pair of blood disorders—the first clinical trial of a gene-editing candidate sponsored by U.S. companies. “We are very encouraged by these preliminary data, the first such data to be reported for patients with beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease treated with our CRISPR/Cas9 edited autologous hematopoietic stem cell candidate CTX001,” CRISPR Therapeutics CEO Samarth Kulkarni, PhD, said in a statement. “These data support our belief in the potential of our therapies to have meaningful benefit for patients following a one-time intervention. We continue to enroll these studies as we drive forward to develop CRISPR/Cas9 therapies as a new class of transformative medicines to treat serious diseases.” Added Vertex Chairman, President and CEO Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD: “The data we announced today are remarkable and demonstrate that CTX001 has the potential to be a curative CRISPR/Cas9-based gene-editing therapy.”

Read More

CRISPR Gene Editing Ability Improved by Specific Modifications of tracrRNA

GEN | November 11, 2019

Scientists at the City of Hope believe they may have found a way to sharpen the fastest, cheapest, and most accurate gene editing technique, CRISPR-Cas9, so that it can more successfully cut out undesirable genetic information. This improved cutting ability could one day fast-track potential therapies for HIV, sickle cell disease, and, potentially, other immune conditions. “Our CRISPR-Cas9 design may be the difference between trying to cut a ribeye steak with a butter knife versus slicing it with a steak knife,” said Tristan Scott, PhD, lead author of the study and a staff research scientist at City of Hope’s Center for Gene Therapy. “Other scientists have tried to improve CRISPR cutting through chemical modifications, but that’s an expensive process and is like diamond-coating a blade. Instead, we have designed a better pair of scissors you can buy at any convenience store.” The study, “Improved Cas9 activity by specific modifications of the tracrRNA,” published in Scientific Reports is the first time scientists have systematically gone through the guide RNA sequence to change it and improve CRISPR-Cas9 technology, Scott said. The Kevin Morris Lab at City of Hope has filed a patent application claiming this improved CRISPR-Cas9 design, which could result in a doubling of activity but the exact amount was dependent on the target site, Scott said.

Read More

A Breath of Fresh CRISPR

GEN | November 04, 2019

Genome editing materials can’t just breeze into cells. Or can they? Even cells so well defended as lung and airway cells may admit wisps of genome editing proteins such as CRISPR-associated nucleases. All that’s needed is an inspired delivery method. One possibility is the aerosolization of amphiphilic peptides. Amphiphilic peptides combine hydrophilic and lipophilic properties and facilitate the translocation of proteins across membranes. These peptides are being evaluated for various applications, including genome editing. In fact, scientists from the University of Iowa, in collaboration with scientists from Feldan Therapeutics, recently used engineered amphiphilic peptides to deliver genome editing nucleases and ribonucleoproteins to cultured human airway epithelial cells and mouse lungs.

Read More

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