This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to CRISPR/Cas9, a gene-editing technique known as “gene shearing”. “This gene-editing tool has a huge amount of energy that affects each of us. It has not only revolutioned basic science, but has also produced many innovative results and will lead to innovative new treatments. “The Nobel Committee for the Selection of Chemistry said in a press release on October 7.
On the same day, two female scientists, Emmanuele Carpenter of France and Jennifer A. Dudner of the United States, were killed. Doudna) was awarded the New Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of genomic editing methods.
Gene editing technology has been in the fore as early as the 1990s, but it was time-consuming and even difficult to complete. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, the life-changing code, DNA, can be changed in a few weeks.
CRISPR/Cas9 technology revolutionized biological research and led to the development of a new generation of biomedical enterprises.
“CRISPR/Cas9 has not yet been used as a clinical diagnosis of the disease, but many concepts are being validated, such as the diagnosis of Zika, the new crown and cancer, showing sensitivity, and positive conceptual validation of genetic modification or controversial human genetic modification,” a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Shanghai, China, told First Financial. “
CrispR/Cas9 has become an essential tool for research laboratory systems and is more widely used than even the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry’s Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), he said.
Gene Editing’s share price soared.
“This award is a real one.” Professor Michael Levitt, one of the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, told First Financial: “A lot of people want to win with CRISPR, but in the end it’s just two female scientists, and I think it’s right. “
Randy Schekman, a 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, welcomed his colleague Dudner’s award.
Professor Sheckman told First Financial by email that he thought “it’s only a matter of time between Jennifer and Emmanuel.”
Professor Sheckman told First Financial that regardless of whether CRISPR won the Nobel Prize or not, gene editing technology had “spread like wildfire in biomedical and biotechnology”. “The first treatment for sickle cell anemia has been developed using CRISPR technology, and this is just the beginning, with more positive attempts being accompanied by some ups and downs that are driving the application of this revolutionary technology.”
Shares in gene editing companies rose sharply in overseas markets on October 7th after the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was announced. U.S. stocks closed Wednesday, with Swiss gene compilation company Crispr Therapeutics up more than 11 percent, gene therapy company Editas Medecine up nearly 8 percent and Intellia Therapeutics up more than 13 percent — all of which are co-founded or equity-owned by Dudner or Carpentier.
Crispr Therapeutics, a co-founder of Dudner and Carpentier, is one of the companies that has taken gene editing to the clinic.
In Phase I clinical trials, it has begun treating people with sickle cell anemia, and the treatment has freed some people from the terrible symptoms of the disease.
Editas Medecine is co-founded by Dudner with George Church, a Harvard professor, and Zhang Feng, a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is also at the forefront of CRISPR/Cas9 applications.
Dudner founded a number of gene editing biotechnology companies. On June 6, she founded Scribe Therapeutics, which is using CRISPR technology to develop a treatment for neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which, if successful, could bring in at least $400 million.
Technology is not yet fully mature.
Gene-editing technology offers hope for a one-off treatment that could cure a genetic disorder caused by a human birth defect.
The first gene therapy to enter the clinic was used to treat sickle cell anemia, by programming the protein so that it could cut off defective parts of DNA with great precision, and then have the edited cells repair the cut DNA and insert it into the cut DNA location.
The principle of gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 is to correct defective genes by introducing new gene codes to repair certain genetic diseases and make cancer treatment more successful. The technology has the ability to discover and manipulate specific genes and has the potential to be a daily tool for exploring all physiological and diagnostic diseases.
“How much room does CRISPR’s technology have to improve?” At present, it is no problem to achieve precision shearing, but there is still a gap to achieve precise repair. “A domestic cellular immunity expert told the first financial reporter. But he believes there is limited scope for CRISPR technology to improve.
“Crispr’s technical problems include improved safety and efficiency,” a researcher at shenzhen’s Key Laboratory of Medical Gene Reprogramming Technology told First Financial. He also said the Nobel Prize is expected to drive more capital attention to the technology.
Zhang Feng, a Chinese-American scientist who had previously called for a higher voice, was also lamented for not winning the prize. Zhang Feng, who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Harvard University’s Broad Institute and is believed to be the real person who brings gene editing technology to human cell therapy, is the owner of more than nine key core patents in CRISPR/Cas. Zhang Feng and Professor George Church of Harvard University first published papers on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to human cells.
There have been a number of patent disputes surrounding this popular technology. The U.S. Patent Office has ruled that Zhang Feng was the inventor of gene editing technology.
Professor Church said of CRISPR’s patent dispute: “Patent disputes will always subside, and crispr/Cas9 technology will require a lot of research and technical improvements if it can really be developed as a drug.” Without the technical basis of Dudner and others as a support, Zhang Feng is impossible to achieve the application of human cells, but without new scientific research to enhance technology, then neither Dudner nor Zhang Feng’s research is enough to support drug research and development. “
“CRISPR/Cas9 is not likely to win the Nobel Prize, but the question is who will win it,” Anthony Zador, a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the US, said in an interview with First Financial. The impact of this gene editing technology has spread to almost all laboratories around the world. “
CRISPR Technology was awarded the Nobel Prize and is expected to facilitate the commercialization of the technology. Dudner is optimistic about the business prospects of CRISPR technology.
In a 2016 interview with First Financial, Mr Dudner said: “These will create jobs and drive new technologies, with great potential.” Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing this technology transform as quickly as possible to solve real-world problems. “
Ethical challenges remain enormous.
While almost everyone in the academic community hailed crispr/Cas9’s groundbreaking technology as a way to rewrite the code for life, some scientists worry that the technology is being used improperly or overused. For example, when gene editing becomes so simple, people can edit human embryos and reproductive cells at will to create “genetically modified babies”, meaning that in the future people can create a part of the “elite population” by design, they are superior to ordinary people in intelligence, looks and traits, and can be passed down from generation to generation, in other words, can affect human evolution, which caused ethical defenders to protest.
The British government has approved allowing experiments on human embryos, and in the US some private funds have invested heavily in basic genetic research.
Dudner realized early on that a balance should be found between science and ethics. She has been communicating with people from all walks of life in recent years to ensure that the red line of social ethics is not crossed. “We need to be extra careful about technologies that have the potential to influence human evolution, because the consequences are far-reaching and irreversible, ” Mr Dudner told First Financial. “