New CRISPR-powered device detects genetic mutations in minutes

Phys.org | March 25, 2019

A team of engineers at the University of California, Berkeley and the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) of The Claremont Colleges combined CRISPR with electronic transistors made from graphene to create a new hand-held device that can detect specific genetic mutations in a matter of minutes. The device, dubbed CRISPR-Chip, could be used to rapidly diagnose genetic diseases or to evaluate the accuracy of gene-editing techniques. The team used the device to identify genetic mutations in DNA samples from Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. "We have developed the first transistor that uses CRISPR to search your genome for potential mutations," said Kiana Aran, an assistant professor at KGI who conceived of the technology while a postdoctoral scholar in UC Berkeley bioengineering professor Irina Conboy's lab. "You just put your purified DNA sample on the chip, allow CRISPR to do the search and the graphene transistor reports the result of this search in minutes." Aran is the senior author of a paper describing the device that appears online March 25 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Spotlight

Discover how advances in genomics are transforming medtech for healthcare with this online genomics course.

Spotlight

Discover how advances in genomics are transforming medtech for healthcare with this online genomics course.

Related News

MEDICAL

Invenshure Launches MEKanistic Therapeutics™

Invenshure | June 03, 2022

Venture studio Invenshure announces the launch of MEKanistic Therapeutics, a biotechnology company redefining precision oncology. Co-inventors and pioneers in the MEK inhibitor field, Judith Sebolt-Leopold, PhD, and Christopher Whitehead, PhD, MBA, have rationally designed a drug that blocks two, key pathways (EGFR and PI3K) used to signal cancer cell growth, with a single molecule. In preclinical studies, this first-in-class dual inhibitor shows unparalleled tumor shrinkage without the toxicity generally associated with current kinase inhibitors. MEKanistic is using cutting edge computational tools to not only understand how these pathways work, but also design medications that perfectly fit within those sites to inhibit the spread of cancer. We have two unique advantages. First, our lead drug's expanded therapeutic window means dramatically reduced side effects for cancer patients. Second, when it's paired with existing cancer therapies, our drug makes them much more effective, We are excited to partner with Pfizer Global R&D veterans, Drs. Leopold and Whitehead, to propel this important technology forward into clinical trials." Danny Cunagin, CEO of MEKanistic. MEKanistic will be launching a round of funding in the coming weeks to support the translation of our lead candidate (MTX-531) towards IND approval later this year with the anticipation of initiation of Phase 1 clinical trials in early 2023. MTX-531's initial application targets head and neck cancers with 900,000 cases worldwide per year. Ultimately, this drug has possible future applications for colon/rectal, esophageal, pancreatic, and some breast cancers. Our work could potentially impact millions of people each year." Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Sebolt-Leopold. About Invenshure™ Invenshure is a venture studio that scours university research labs for novel and disruptive technologies ready for commercialization. Invenshure partners with top scientists, physicians, and researchers from the most trusted institutions in healthcare and technology. The company focuses on high-growth sectors including biotech, genomics, healthcare IT, diagnostics, cloud computing technologies, and wireless technologies.

Read More

DIAGNOSTICS

Cancer Cell Paper Identifies "Avidity Enhancement" As New Strategy for Improving CAR T Therapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

LUMICKS | May 26, 2022

LUMICKS, a leading life science tools company that develops instruments for dynamic single-molecule and cell avidity analysis, today announced the publication in Cancer Cell of preclinical research identifying "Avidity Enhancement" as a new strategy to improve therapeutic outcome of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). AML poses significant clinical challenges due to its resistance to therapies and its bleak prognosis. Approximately 20,000 people in the US and 300,000 worldwide die from AML every year, making it the most common form of acute leukemia in adults and a major public health issue. The Cancer Cell paper (May 9, 2022), entitled "Non-cleavable hinge enhances avidity and expansion of CAR-T cells for acute myeloid leukemia," was authored by a team of CAR T cell researchers led by Dr. Marcela V. Maus, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Cellular Immunotherapy program at Massachusetts General Hospital. The study details a novel strategy for better cancer treatment with CAR T cells for AML. "Avidity Enhancement", increasing cell-cell binding from both the tumor and CAR T cell side, led to a more effective eradication of tumors in mouse models of AML. In this paper, data generated using the LUMICKS z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer provided superior correlation with CAR T cell activity in vivo compared to the standard in vitro assays in assessing the potency of CAR variants. Building upon previous research from the Maus Lab indicating 'avidity escape' as an evasion mechanism when CAR T cell therapies are deployed against solid tumors, "avidity enhancement" is a promising strategy for improving clinical success of CAR T therapies. We continue to be excited about the pivotal research emerging from The Maus Lab and other leading laboratories that demonstrates how researchers can leverage the technological and scientific power of measuring cell avidity with the z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer, This work further solidifies the idea that cell avidity can be a unique biomarker to improve the selection of CAR T therapies for superior therapeutic outcomes in hematological malignancies as well as in solid tumors. We are delighted to collaborate with researchers worldwide in uncovering meaningful new insights, such as the new treatment approaches suggested for AML contained in this new paper in Cancer Cell." Andrea Candelli, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of LUMICKS. The z-Movi Cell Avidity Analyzer measures cell avidity, or level of binding, between immune cells and their targets, enabling researchers to identify the most potent immunotherapeutic effector cells. This unique technology provides predictive, reproducible, and fast results at single-cell resolution. LUMICKS' cell avidity solutions use acoustics to measure forces and interactions between cells, with the goal of shortening the drug development cycle of immunotherapies and reducing failure rates in clinical trials. First introduced in 2020, the z-Movi is being rapidly adopted by academic and biopharma laboratories around the world. About LUMICKS LUMICKS is a leading life science tools company that develops equipment for Dynamic Single-Molecule and Cell Avidity analysis, two rapidly emerging areas in biology research and immuno-oncology. LUMICKS' tools allow researchers to build the crucial and yet unfinished bridge between structure and function at both a molecular and a cellular level. This is achieved by applying and measuring forces around biological interactions, enabling the detailed real-time analysis of underlying biological mechanisms. LUMICKS' C-Trap® Optical Tweezers – Fluorescence & Label-free Microscopy, allows scientists to analyze complex biological processes in real-time. Similarly, the z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer enables the measurement and selection of immune cells based on their real-time interactions with target cells.

Read More

INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Gilead Sciences to Acquire MiroBio

Gilead Sciences, Inc. | August 05, 2022

Gilead Sciences, Inc. and MiroBio, a privately-held U.K.-based biotechnology company focused on restoring immune balance with agonists targeting immune inhibitory receptors, today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Gilead will acquire MiroBio for approximately $405 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. The acquisition will provide Gilead with MiroBio’s proprietary discovery platform and entire portfolio of immune inhibitory receptor agonists. MiroBio’s lead investigational antibody, MB272, is a selective agonist of immune inhibitory receptor B- and T-Lymphocyte Attenuator and has entered Phase 1 clinical trials, with the first patient dosed earlier this week. MB272 targets T, B and dendritic cells to inhibit or blunt activation and suppress an inflammatory immune response. MiroBio’s I-ReSToRE platform (REceptor Selection and Targeting to Reinstate immune Equilibrium) has the potential to be used to develop best-in-class agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors, a novel approach to the treatment of inflammatory diseases. The I-ReSToRE platform supports identification and development of therapeutics that utilize inhibitory signaling networks with the goal of restoring immune homeostasis for patients. Gilead anticipates advancing additional agonists derived from MiroBio’s I-ReSToRE platform, including a PD-1 agonist, MB151, and other undisclosed early-stage programs, over the next several years. “The team at MiroBio has spearheaded foundational research for agonist antibodies following a rigorous scientific approach,” said Flavius Martin, Executive Vice President, Research, Gilead Sciences. “We believe that MiroBio’s unique platform technology has the potential to produce best-in-class agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors.” “We are excited to be joining Gilead. MiroBio has a deep understanding of checkpoint receptor signaling and a proprietary approach to select and generate superior agonist antibodies. Combining this with Gilead’s drug development and therapeutic area expertise will allow us to fully explore the potential of checkpoint agonist antibodies for patients with autoimmune disease.” Eliot Charles, Chairman of MiroBio Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will acquire all of the outstanding share capital of MiroBio for a total of $405 million in cash consideration, subject to customary adjustments, which is payable at closing. Beginning in the first quarter of 2022, consistent with recent industry communications from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gilead no longer excludes acquired IPR&D expenses from its non-GAAP financial measures. We expect the transaction with MiroBio to reduce Gilead’s GAAP and non-GAAP 2022 EPS by approximately $0.30-$0.35. Closing of the transaction is subject to expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. About MiroBio MiroBio is a clinical-stage private biotechnology company whose mission is to develop a new class of therapeutic agents, checkpoint agonist antibodies, to restore immune balance in autoimmune patients. MiroBio has developed I-ReSToRE, a proprietary discovery platform, combining its Checkpoint Atlas™, a cutting-edge receptor mapping database and visualization tool, with proprietary antibody engineering. It was spun out of Oxford University in 2019 and is based on more than 15 years of foundational research from the labs of Professor Simon Davis and Professor Richard Cornall with the potential to create safer and more efficacious medicines for patients with autoimmune disease. MiroBio is backed by a strong group of international investors including Oxford Science Enterprises, Samsara BioCapital, SR One, Medicxi, Advent Life Sciences, OrbiMed and Monograph. About Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis, cancer and inflammation. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California

Read More