Cancer treatment possible with the help of base editing
- Recently, scientists in the United Kingdom (UK), working on testing the ‘base editing’ treatment method, have reported that, with the base editing (alkali editing) method, blood cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia can be treated.
- T-cells are a type of white blood cells. These are able to identify and neutralize threats that may arise for the body.
- The genetic code of an individual is the sequence of four types of bases (bases) being changed many times.
- These four bases are: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).
- The sequences of these bases instruct the genes to produce a wide range of essential proteins that are essential for the functioning of the body.
- Scientists can now use several methods to select a precise part of the genetic code to change the molecular structure of just one base. This allows the genetic instructions to be effectively changed.
- Among these methods, the CRISPR-cas9 system is the most popular.
- In the UK patient’s case, the disordered sequence of bases caused the T-cells themselves to become cancerous.
- Scientists have used base-editing to transform T-cells from a healthy donor into a new type of T-cell.
- These new T-cells will neither harm each other nor other cells. It will also protect against chemotherapy and destroy other cancer-causing T-cells in the body.
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats’ and ‘CRISPR-associated protein 9’
- The CRISPR Cas-9 technology is a gene editing technique that can be used to modify genes or alter the genetic make-up of an organism.
- CRISPR Cas-9 technology was discovered by scientists in the year 2012
- Through CRISPR technology, editing of DNA can be done at targeted parts (specific parts) or at specific places out of the entire genetic code.
- The CRISPR-CAS9 technique works as a mechanism for removing and pasting the ends or coiled strands of DNA that carry genetic information.
- The specific location on the DNA end where the genetic code needs to be changed or edited is first identified.
- After that using CAS-9 (CAS-9 acts like a scissor) that specific part is removed.
- It is noteworthy that the specific part of the DNA end that is cut or removed naturally has a tendency to reconstruct, repair.
- Scientists intervene in the process of self-repair or reconstruction itself and the desired sequence or change is carried out in the genetic code, which eventually gets installed at the broken DNA end.
Source – The Hindu