Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-driven genome editing has rapidly transformed preclinical biomedical research by eliminating the underlying genetic basis of many diseases in model systems and facilitating the study of disease etiology. Translation to the clinic is under way, with announced or impending clinical trials utilizing ex vivo strategies for anticancer immunotherapy or correction of hemoglobinopathies. These exciting applications represent just a fraction of what is theoretically possible for this emerging technology, but many technical hurdles must be overcome before CRISPR-based genome editing technology can reach its full potential. One exciting recent development is the use of CRISPR systems for diagnostic detection of genetic sequences associated with pathogens or cancer. We review the biologic origins and functional mechanism of CRISPR systems and highlight several current and future clinical applications of genome editing.
© 2019 AABB.