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Archive for the ‘CRISPR/Cas9 & Gene Editing’ Category


CRISPR Based Research Awarded NHGRI Grants, The University of California, Berkeley’s Doudna will receive $2.1 million and The Broad Institute’s Zhang will receive $1.1 million

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

UPDATED on 10/10/2017

Gene Editing Market: CRISPR/CAS9 to be the fastest-growing technology segment – 2024

Request for Sample Copy of this Report @ http://bit.ly/2wExTM9

Rising prevalence of cancer, infectious diseases, and other genetic disorders, and growing demand for personalized medicine should stimulate industry expansion. Furthermore, expansion and development in healthcare infrastructure should propel industry demand.

Gene editing market has its extensive application in therapeutic areas of hematology, infectious disease, oncology and muscular diseases. Hematology was recognized as the highest revenue generating segment in 2015, due to extensive use in investigating genetic function in experimental hematology. Infectious disease segment will also follow the robust growth trend with 15.2% CAGR during the forecast timeframe contributing to the overall revenue of over USD 2.5 billion by 2024.

For more information visit @ http://bit.ly/2firtKv

Growth Drivers:

1. Increased funding for genetics research
2. Increased R&D expenditure and growth of biotechnology
3. Increasing demand for synthetic genes
4. Growing use of genetically modified technology
5. Technology advancements

 

SOURCE

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1907871/1907871-6322402100114489346?midToken=AQGWu2im3_6Knw&trk=eml-b2_anet_digest_of_digests-hero-11-discussion~subject&trkEmail=eml-b2_anet_digest_of_digests-hero-11-discussion~subject-null-7gtb2~j8lx06xl~ig-nullcommunities~group~discussion&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Aemail_b2_anet_digest_of_digests%3BLXMNlwc3Q32rTtwL%2FO%2BYbg%3D%3D

 

Jennifer Doudna of University of California, Berkeley, and Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute have both received separate grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) for projects based on CRISPR technology.

Jennifer Doudna will receive $2.1 million to set up and run the Centre for Genome editing and Recording. The centre will address the challenges of accurately interrogating and manipulating DNA sequences in situ “at a scale and level of accuracy and not currently available” by developing technologies based on CRISPR-Cas9 that can “detect, alter and record the sequence and output of the genome in individual cells and tissues,” according to Doudna’s grant proposal.

Feng Zang will receive $1.1 million for a project that aims to develop a suite of tools for the interrogation of RNA based on CRISPR-Cas enzymes that target RNA in a programmable manner.

“Tools for transcript knockdown, translation upregulation, and transcript sensing will be developed, which, together, will enable dissection of genetic circuits in a dynamic, high-throughput manner, accelerating nearly all areas of biomedical science,” Zhang’s grant proposal said.

Doudna and Zhang both say they have the potential to advance the tool’s usefulness for human health purposes.

http://www.frontlinegenomics.com/news/14261/crispr-based-research-awarded-nhgri-grants/

https://www.genomeweb.com/research-funding/jennifer-doudna-feng-zhang-awarded-nhgri-grants-crispr-based-research

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Appellate Brief Seeking Reversal of U.S. Patent Board Decision on CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

[Boldface added]

  • Appeal seeks reversal of Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision terminating interference without determining priority of inventorship of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing
  • Brief asserts that the Board failed to properly apply controlling U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit precedents, and ignored evidence of multiple groups readily applying CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to eukaryotic cells following teachings of Charpentier-Doudna team

As explained in UC’s brief, application of the correct legal standards to the case is believed to require reversal of the PTAB’s decision. For these reasons, UC requests that the Federal Circuit instruct the PTAB to reinstate the interference proceeding so that it can properly determine priority of inventorship, as previously requested by UC. The PTAB’s failures to consider pertinent evidence and apply appropriate legal standards should at the very least require the matter to be remanded so that the PTAB can properly consider the evidence related to obviousness and Broad’s no-interference-in-fact motion using appropriate legal standards.
In the PTAB’s February decision terminating the interference proceeding prematurely, it had not yet considered the teachings of UC’s own prior-filed patent application with respect to using CRISPR/Cas9 in eukaryotic cells. Instead, the PTAB only addressed the threshold question of whether use in eukaryotic cells can be separately patentable from use in all settings as covered by UC’s claims. However, determinations on the underlying substantive matters have recently been made in parallel prosecution before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”). The USPTO has rejected a series of patent applications filed by Broad that are directed to uses of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in eukaryotic cells as being non-novel in view of UC’s prior-filed patent application, which the USPTO examiners considered to have effectively taught use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in eukaryotic cells. In addition, patent applications filed by Sigma-Aldrich and Toolgen that similarly claim use of CRISPR/Cas9 in eukaryotic cells (both of which filed applications before Broad’s application) have likewise recently been rejected as being either non-novel or obvious in view of the prior-filed UC patent application with specific respect to its teachings regarding application of the invention to use in eukaryotic cells.

SOURCES

On 7/25/2017

CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia Therapeutics, Caribou Biosciences and ERS Genomics Announce Appellate Brief Seeking Reversal of U.S. Patent Board Decision on CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing

https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/07/25/1058142/0/en/CRISPR-Therapeutics-Intellia-Therapeutics-Caribou-Biosciences-and-ERS-Genomics-Announce-Appellate-Brief-Seeking-Reversal-of-U-S-Patent-Board-Decision-on-CRISPR-Cas9-Gene-Editing.html

On 4/13/2017:

Gene Editing Consortium of Biotech Companies: CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP, Intellia Therapeutics $NTLA, Caribou Biosciences, ERS Genomics, UC, Berkeley (Doudna’s IP) and University of Vienna (Charpentier’s IP), is appealing the decisionruled that there was no interference between the two sides, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, targeting patents from The Broad Institute.

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/04/13/gene-editing-consortium-of-biotech-companies-crispr-therapeutics-crsp-intellia-therapeutics-ntla-caribou-biosciences-and-ers-genomics-uc-berkeley-doudnas-ip-and-university-of-vienna-charpe/

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Innovations on the CRISPR System for Gene Editing: (1) Cryo-electron microscopy-based visualization of Cas3 Enzyme Cleavage (2) New tool testing an entire genome against a CRISPR molecule to predict potential errors and interactions

Curator and Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Boom in human gene editing as 20 CRISPR trials gear up

A pioneering CRISPR trial in China will be the first to try editing the genomes of cells inside the body, in an effort to eliminate cancer-causing HPV virus

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2133095-boom-in-human-gene-editing-as-20-crispr-trials-gear-up/

 

(1) Cryo-electron microscopy-based visualization of Cas3 Enzyme Cleavage

Harvard Medical School and Cornell University scientists have now generated near-atomic resolution snapshots of CRISPR that reveal key steps in its mechanism of action. The findings, published in Cell on June 29, provide the structural data necessary for efforts to improve the efficiency and accuracy of CRISPR for biomedical applications.

Through cryo-electron microscopy, the researchers describe for the first time the exact chain of events as the CRISPR complex loads target DNA and prepares it for cutting by the Cas3 enzyme. These structures reveal a process with multiple layers of error detection—a molecular redundancy that prevents unintended genomic damage, the researchers say.

 

Image Source: CRISPR forms a “seed bubble” state, which acts as an initial fail-safe mechanism to ensure that CRISPR RNA matches its target DNA. Image: Liao Lab/HMS

 

In contrast to the scalpel-like Cas9, CRISPR-Cas3 acts like a shredder that chews DNA up beyond repair. While CRISPR-Cas3 has, thus far, limited utility for precision gene editing, it is being developed as a tool to combat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. A better understanding of its mechanisms may broaden the range of potential applications for CRISPR-Cas3.

In addition, all CRISPR-Cas subtypes utilize some version of an R-loop formation to detect and prepare target DNA for cleavage. The improved structural understanding of this process can now enable researchers to work toward modifying multiple types of CRISPR-Cas systems to improve their accuracy and reduce the chance of off-target effects in biomedical applications.

SOURCE

Structure Basis for Directional R-loop Formation and Substrate Handover Mechanisms in Type I CRISPR-Cas System

Yibei Xiao3

,

Min Luo3

,

Robert P. Hayes4

,

Jonathan Kim

,

Sherwin Ng

,

Fang Ding

,

Maofu Liao'Correspondence information about the author Maofu Liao

,

Ailong Ke5,'Correspondence information about the author Ailong Ke
3These authors contributed equally
4Present address: Merck & Co., 770 Sumneytown Pike, West Point, PA 19486, USA
5Lead contact
Bringing CRISPR into Focus – New study reveals key steps in CRISPR-Cas3 function at near-atomic resolution
By KEVIN JIANG
June 29, 2017
Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin may have come up with a possible solution. They’ve developed something that works like a predictive editor for CRISPR: a method for anticipating and catching the tool’s mistakes as it works, thereby allowing for the editing of disease-causing errors out of genomes.
Many forms of cancer, Huntington’s disease, and even HIV can be targeted using CRISPR. CRISPR can “correct” something that was actually right — the consequences of which can make it a dangerous mistake. One that actually causes a disease. CRISPR molecules—proteins that find and edit genes—sometimes target the wrong genes, acting more like an auto-correct feature that turns correctly spelled words into typos. Editing the wrong gene could create new problems, such as causing healthy cells to become cancerous.

“You and I differ in about 1 million spots in our genetic code,” says Ilya Finkelstein, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at UT Austin and the project’s principal investigator. “Because of this genetic diversity, human gene editing will always be a custom-tailored therapy.”

Image Source: The heart of the new technique developed by Finkelstein, et al. for detecting interactions between CRISPR and off-target DNA segments is a standard next generation gene sequencing slide (a.k.a. flowcell), produced by Illumina. Image by Wikimedia user Bainscou, via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license
CHAMP, or Chip Hybridized Affinity Mapping Platform. The heart of the test is a standard next generation genome sequencing chip already widely used in research and medicine. Two other key elements—designs for a 3-D printed mount that holds the chip under a microscope and software the team developed for analyzing the results—are open source. As a result, other researchers can easily replicate the technique in experiments involving CRISPR.

Andy Ellington, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and vice president for research of the Applied Research Laboratories at UT Austin, is a co-author of the paper. He says this method also illustrates the unpredictable side benefits of new technologies.

“Next generation genome sequencing was invented to read genomes, but here we’ve turned the technology on its head to allow us to characterize how CRISPR interacts with genomes,” says Ellington. “Inventive folks like Ilya take new technologies and extend them into new realms.”

they found that the CRISPR molecule they tested, called Cascade, pays less attention to every third letter in a DNA sequence than to the others.

Discussion

CHAMP repurposes sequenced and discarded chips from modern next-generation Illumina sequencers for high-throughput association profiling of proteins to nucleic acids. A key difference between CHAMP and prior NGS-based approaches is that it does not require any hardware or software modifications to discontinued Illumina sequencers (Nutiu et al., 2011Tome et al., 2014Buenrostro et al., 2014). In CHAMP, all association-profiling experiments are carried out on sequenced MiSeq chips and imaged in a conventional TIRF microscope. CHAMP’s computational strategy uses phiX clusters as alignment markers to align the spatial information obtained via Illumina sequencing with the fluorescent association profiling experiments. This strategy offers three key advantages over previous approaches. First, using a conventional fluorescence microscope opens new experimental configurations, including multi-color co-localization and time-dependent kinetic experiments. The excitation and emission optics can also be readily adapted for FRET (Figure S6) and other advanced imaging modalities. Second, complete fluidic access to the chip allows addition of other protein components during a biochemical reaction. Third, the computational strategy for aligning sequencer outputs to fluorescent datasets is applicable to all modern Illumina sequencers, including the MiSeq, NextSeq, and HiSeq platforms. Indeed, we also used the CHAMP imaging and bioinformatics pipeline to regenerate, image, and spatially align the DNA clusters in a HiSeq flowcell (Figure S6), providing an avenue for massively parallel profiling of protein-nucleic acid interactions on both synthetic libraries and entire genomes. Future extensions will leverage on-chip transcription and translation (e.g., ribosome display) to facilitate high-throughput studies of RNA or peptide association landscapes. These studies will permit quantitative biophysical studies of diverse protein-nucleic acid interactions.

http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)30637-2

SOURCE

Massively Parallel Biophysical Analysis of CRISPR-Cas Complexes on Next Generation Sequencing Chips

Cheulhee Jung8

,

John A. Hawkins8

,

Stephen K. Jones Jr.8

,

Yibei Xiao

,

James R. Rybarski

,

Kaylee E. Dillard

,

Jeffrey Hussmann

,

Fatema A. Saifuddin

,

Cagri A. Savran

,

Andrew D. Ellington

,

Ailong Ke

,

William H. Press

,

Ilya J. Finkelstein9,'Correspondence information about the author Ilya J. Finkelstein
8These authors contributed equally
9Lead Contact

This New Gene-Editing Technique Can Spot CRISPR’s Mistakes

New Technique Enables Safer Gene-Editing Therapy Using CRISPR

Other related articles on CRISPR published on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

255 Articles on CRISPR

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GENE EDITING: Promises and Challenges: HSPH and NBC News Digital, Friday, May 19, 2017  Live webcast: 12:30-1:30pm ET

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

THE ANDELOT SERIES

ON CURRENT SCIENCE CONTROVERSIES

GENE EDITING: Promises and Challenges 

Presented jointly with NBC News Digital

Friday, May 19, 2017

Live webcast: 12:30-1:30pm ET

ForumHSPH.org

 

In labs and in clinical trials, scientists are seeking ways to rewrite DNA, a building block of life. Tools such as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), TAL effector nucleases (TALENs) and, more recently, CRISPR/Cas9 have the power to seek out and replace faulty DNA. The possibilities seem almost limitless: with the ability to edit DNA at will, researchers theoretically could wipe out malaria-causing mosquitos, make disease- and pest-proof crops without the need for pesticides, and cure genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Cancer is another target, with human clinical trials using CRISPR already underway, while, in separate efforts, HIV has been reportedly eliminated in mice thanks to the tool.

But scientists and ethicists alike are worried about the speed at which the gene editing field is moving — and the implications of the results. In this panel, we will discuss the promises and challenges presented by gene editing for individual and public health. What scientific and ethical hurdles must be overcome before tools like CRISPR and others can move safely and more widely out of the lab and into fields, farms, and hospitals? 

EXPERT PARTICIPANTS

 

George Annas, Distinguished Professor at Boston University and Director of the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health

 

Flaminia Catteruccia, Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

 

George Church, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, and Co-Founder, Editas and eGenesis

MODERATOR

 

David Freeman, Editorial Director, NBC News MACH

Additional panelists may be announced.

Spread the word:

Send our panelists questions in advance to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu

We’ll be conducting a live chat on The Forum’s Gene Editing web page.

Tweet us @ForumHSPH  #GeneEditing

Forum video will be posted on-demand after the event.

SOURCE

From: “The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health” <theforum=hsph.harvard.edu@mail168.atl171.mcdlv.net> on behalf of “The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health” <theforum@hsph.harvard.edu>

Reply-To: “The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health” <theforum@hsph.harvard.edu>

Date: Monday, May 15, 2017 at 2:36 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Gene Editing: Promises and Challenges

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Doudna and Charpentierand their teams to receive wide-ranging patents in many countries:  European Patent Office (EPO) and UK Intellectual Property Office – broad patent for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to the University of California and the University of Vienna

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

The EPO patent will cover the single-guide CRISPR-Cas9 technology in cells of all types. The technology was invented by Jennifer Doudna, a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology, Charpentier, now director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, and their colleagues. Applications include treatment of various human diseases, as well as veterinary, agricultural and other biotech applications. The European patent would cover some 40 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The EPO has stated its intent to grant a patent with claims that encompass all cells, despite objections from third parties, including the Broad Institute, a joint research institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We are excited that this patent will issue based on the foundational research we published with Emmanuelle Charpentier and the rest of our team. We look forward to the continued applications of gene-editing technology to solve problems in human health and agriculture,” said Doudna, who is a Howard Hughes Medical investigator at UC Berkeley.

The UC patent application to the EPO was substantially the same as the UC patent application filed in the United States. In the U.S., UC claims covering the use of single-guide CRISPR-Cas9 technology in any setting were found to be allowable by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and were placed in an interference with patents owned by the Broad Institute that cover use of the technology in eukaryotic cells. An interference is a formal legal proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to determine who was the first to invent.

“We disagree with the recent PTAB decision to terminate the interference between claims of the UC and the Broad Institute, and we are keeping all of our options open, including the possibility of an appeal,” Penhoet said. “We remain confident that when the inventorship question is finally answered, the Doudna and Charpentier teams will prevail.”

WATCH VIDEO

SOURCE

http://news.berkeley.edu/2017/03/28/european-patent-office-to-grant-uc-a-broad-patent-on-crispr-cas9/

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Gene Editing Consortium of Biotech Companies: CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP, Intellia Therapeutics $NTLA, Caribou Biosciences, ERS Genomics, UC, Berkeley (Doudna’s IP) and University of Vienna (Charpentier’s IP), is appealing the decision ruled that there was no interference between the two sides, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, targeting patents from The Broad Institute.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/04/13/gene-editing-consortium-of-biotech-companies-crispr-therapeutics-crsp-intellia-therapeutics-ntla-caribou-biosciences-and-ers-genomics-uc-berkeley-doudnas-ip-and-university-of-vienna-charpe/

 

Keyword Search: CRISPR – 247 articles in pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php?s=CRISPR&post_status=all&post_type=post&action=-1&m=0&cat=0&paged=1&action2=-1

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Gene Editing Consortium of Biotech Companies: CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP, Intellia Therapeutics $NTLA, Caribou Biosciences, ERS Genomics, UC, Berkeley (Doudna’s IP) and University of Vienna (Charpentier’s IP), is appealing the decision ruled that there was no interference between the two sides, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, targeting patents from The Broad Institute.

 

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

See Background:

UPDATED – Status “Interference — Initial memorandum” – CRISPR/Cas9 – The Biotech Patent Fight of the Century

 

|
Source: Intellia Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit seeks review and reversal of the Patent Trial and Appeals Board’s (PTAB) decision to terminate CRISPR/Cas9 interference
  • In parallel, the companies and their licensors plan to pursue additional patents in the U.S. and worldwide covering the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and its use in cellular and non-cellular settings, including eukaryotic cells

BASEL, Switzerland;

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts;

BERKELEY, California;

DUBLIN, Ireland,

April 13, 2017

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP), Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA), Caribou Biosciences and ERS Genomics announced today that The Regents of the University of California, the University of Vienna, and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively “UC”), co-owners of foundational intellectual property relating to CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering, have appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the “Federal Circuit”) the decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) to terminate the interference between certain CRISPR/Cas9 patent claims owned by UC and patents and patent applications owned by the Broad Institute, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”).

In the appeal, UC is seeking review and reversal of the PTAB’s February 15, 2017 decision, which terminated the interference without determining which inventors actually invented the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology in eukaryotic cells. In its decision, the PTAB concluded that, although the claims overlap, the respective scope of UC and Broad’s claim sets as presented did not define the same patentable invention and, accordingly, terminated the interference without deciding which party first invented the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in eukaryotic cells. UC is asking the Federal Circuit to review and reverse the PTAB’s decision.

In parallel with the appeal, UC is pursuing applications in the U.S. and other jurisdictions worldwide to obtain patents claiming the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and its use in non-cellular and cellular settings, including eukaryotic cells. Corresponding patents have already been granted in the United Kingdom, and the European Patent Office is also granting a patent to UC, which will issue on May 10, 2017. UC’s earliest patent application describing the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology and its use was filed on May 25, 2012, while the Broad’s earliest patent application was filed more than six months later, on December 12, 2012.

The law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP will be handling the appeal, with Don Verrilli, former Solicitor General of the United States, as lead counsel.

SOURCE

https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/04/13/960152/0/en/CRISPR-Therapeutics-Intellia-Therapeutics-Caribou-Biosciences-and-ERS-Genomics-Announce-Appeal-of-CRISPR-Cas9-U-S-Patent-Board-Decision.html

 

Editas’ rivals appeal a recent setback on patent fight, mapping a global war for CRISPR supremacy

They say they are “pursuing applications in the U.S. and other jurisdictions worldwide to obtain patents claiming the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and its use in non-cellular and cellular settings, including eukaryotic cells. Corresponding patents have already been granted in the United Kingdom, and the European Patent Office is also granting a patent to UC, which will issue on May 10, 2017. UC’s earliest patent application describing the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology and its use was filed on May 25, 2012, while the Broad’s earliest patent application was filed more than six months later, on December 12, 2012.”

The group said today it is also waging a global patent battle for CRISPR/Cas9 supremacy over Editas and its scientific founder, Feng Zhang, who patented the rival technology at The Broad.

SOURCE

https://endpts.com/editas-rivals-appeal-a-recent-setback-on-patent-fight-mapping-a-global-war-for-crispr-supremacy/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=201%20Thursday%2041317%20Biogen%20Roche%20forge%2011B%20in%20deals%20for%20Bristol%20drugs%20Busy%20week%20for%20the%20biotech%20jobs%20scene&utm_content=201%20Thursday%2041317%20Biogen%20Roche%20forge%2011B%20in%20deals%20for%20Bristol%20drugs%20Busy%20week%20for%20the%20biotech%20jobs%20scene+CID_1d65272f5e757d7ae0245395295e6e12&utm_source=ENDPOINTS%20emails&utm_term=Editas%20rivals%20appeal%20a%20recent%20setback%20on%20patent%20fight%20mapping%20a%20global%20war%20for%20CRISPR%20supremacy

 

REFERENCES

Other press releases by Intellia Therapeutics, Inc.

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Scientists think excessive population growth is a cause of scarcity and environmental degradation. A male pill could reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, which accounts for 40 percent of all pregnancies worldwide.

 

But, big drug companies long ago dropped out of the search for a male contraceptive pill which is able to chemically intercept millions of sperm before they reach a woman’s egg. Right now the chemical burden for contraception relies solely on the female. There’s not much activity in the male contraception field because an effective solution is available on the female side.

 

Presently, male contraception means a condom or a vasectomy. But researchers from Center for Drug Discovery at Baylor College of Medicine, USA are renewing the search for a better option—an easy-to-take pill that’s safe, fast-acting, and reversible.

 

The scientists began with lists of genes active in the testes for sperm production and motility and then created knockout mice that lack those genes. Using the gene-editing technology called CRISPR, in collaboration with Japanese scientists, they have so far made more than 75 of these “knockout” mice.

 

They allowed these mice to mate with normal (wild type) female mice, and if their female partners don’t get pregnant after three to six months, it means the gene might be a target for a contraceptive. Out of 2300 genes that are particularly active in the testes of mice, the researchers have identified 30 genes whose deletion makes the male infertile. Next the scientists are planning a novel screening approach to test whether any of about two billion chemicals can disable these genes in a test tube. Promising chemicals could then be fed to male mice to see if they cause infertility.

 

Female birth control pills use hormones to inhibit a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs. But hormones have side effects like weight gain, mood changes, and headaches. A trial of one male contraceptive hormone was stopped early in 2011 after one participant committed suicide and others reported depression. Moreover, some drug candidates have made animals permanently sterile which is not the goal of the research. The challenge is to prevent sperm being made without permanently sterilizing the individual.

 

As a better way to test drugs, Scientists at University of Georgia, USA are investigating yet another high-tech approach. They are turning human skin cells into stem cells that look and act like the spermatogonial cells in the testes. Testing drugs on such cells might provide more accurate leads than tests on mice.

 

The male pill would also have to start working quickly, a lot sooner than the female pill, which takes about a week to function. Scientists from University of Dundee, U.K. admitted that there are lots of challenges. Because, a women’s ovary usually release one mature egg each month, while a man makes millions of sperm every day. So, the male pill has to be made 100 percent effective and act instantaneously.

 

References:

 

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603676/the-search-for-a-perfect-male-birth-control-pill/

 

https://futurism.com/videos/the-perfect-male-birth-control-pill-is-coming-soon/?utm_source=Digest&utm_campaign=c42fc7b9b6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_03cd0a26cd-c42fc7b9b6-246845533

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/the-male-pill-is-coming—and-its-going-to-change-everything/

 

http://www.mensfitness.com/women/sex-tips/male-birth-control-pill-making

 

http://health.howstuffworks.com/sexual-health/contraception/male-bc-pill.htm

 

http://europe.newsweek.com/male-contraception-side-effects-study-pill-injection-518237?rm=eu

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/07/health/male-birth-control-pill/index.html

 

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/male-pill.aspx

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