Gynecology & Reproductive Health


Would Human Preimplantation Gene Therapy Based on CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing Increase Cancer Risk in the Offspring?

Jan Tesarik, Raquel Mendoza-Tesarik, Carmen Mendoza.

Systems using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9), widely used as precision genome editing tools in somatic cells, have also been shown to be able to correct pathogenic gene mutations in human preimplantation embryos. Recent findings, suggesting that CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in somatic cells may inadvertently increase the risk of cancer if the edited cells are transplanted into a patient, have raised some doubts about a similar risk associated with CRISPR-Cas9 action in human zygotes and preimplantation embryos. Here we resume the current knowledge about the differences in the expression of basic genes involved in the anticancer defense between somatic cells and preimplantation embryos. These data strongly suggest that CRISPR-Cas9 based gene therapy, performed in preimplantation embryos, is highly unlikely to increase cancer risk in the offspring.

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