For sale: Boston Children’s team touts a new CRISPR delivery system for triple-negative breast cancer — plus — after testing it in mice and cells
A team of investigators at Boston Children’s has developed a new delivery vehicle for CRISPR that amps up its ability to eliminate a key target in triple-negative breast cancer — which they’ve demonstrated in mice and tumor cells. And they have it up for auction now in the hot oncology field.
Engineering their way around the cargo limitations and cell penetration challenges of currently used CRISPR delivery tech, the researchers used a new soft particle delivery platform that they employed to hone in on tumor cells using antibodies to guide them to ICAM-1 molecules.
Once at the site, the scientists say they knocked out the oncogene Lipocalin 2 — which drives metastasis in patients — with an 81% rate of efficiency in tumor cells. And they also scored high on mice.
“Using a soft particle allows us to penetrate the tumor better, without side effects, and with bigger cargo,” says Peng Guo, the study’s first author. “Our system can substantially increase tumor delivery of CRISPR.”
“Our system can deliver significantly more drug to the tumor, in a precise and safe way,” adds Marsha Moses who co-led the project. And burnishing the value, the scientists say it can be particularly useful in pediatric cases and delivering other drugs.
Viral systems now employed can threaten off-target impact, which raises safety issues. And they can’t go big on the cargo. So scientists have been hard at it looking for new delivery vehicles that can do it better.
Their work marries two of the hottest fields in R&D: gene editing and oncology. And in case you missed the subtle sales message, their statement bluntly notes that they are already in licensing talks “with a number of companies interested in the technology.”
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