CRISPR Gene Editing May Be Able to Liminate Human Pain in The Near Future
Posted: Apr 05, 2019
In human biology, the complex feeling of controlling pain through a single gene is not common. For decades, scientists have been searching for rare families whose members exhibit similar pain insensitivity, and they have found at least another string of genetic codes in the DNA that can serve as a volume knob for human pain. Pharmaceutical companies are currently delving into drugs that mimic these effects. And the emergence of CRISPR offers a more enticing possibility. Currently, some medical researchers predict that Crispr and other gene editing tools can produce a new way to treat painless drugs.
So far, the push to permanently change the next generation of genes has been limited by the fierce ethical debate about whether humans have enough knowledge to guide the evolution and practical challenges of the species itself. That is, DNA rarely works in a straightforward manner. ‘We don’t really understand the complexity of biology,’ Crispr and inventor Feng Zhang claimed. Knocking out a gene here or adding code there may lead to new problems, for example, removing a gene called PCSK9 can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, however, it also increases the possibility of developing diabetes. Tradeoffs on other genes with less research may be more difficult to predict.
Because mutations occur in pseudogenes called FAAH-OUT - meaning that a gene produces a long string of RNA rather than a coding protein, but acts as a regulator in other parts of the genome - they have multiple choices. Some of these include the design and injection of complementary RNA sequences which suppress the production of FAAH-OUT which may provide temporary local relief. However, treating chronic pain requires frequent shooting or infusion. So scientists are also looking for a more durable solution.
The researchers expect to use a naturally evolved virus to infiltrate the overexcited nerves that cause a variety of neuropathic pains - from arthritic joints to thrown backs and nerve damage caused by many cancer treatments. A one-time injection into the skin will send the virus to the nerve cells and provide instructions for making this adjustable on/off switch. When patients feel pain, they take medication, which weakens the electrical activity of the neurons and closes the pain, minimizing systemic side effects and addiction risk. The same approach applies to other neurological diseases, including anxiety. According to current research progress, the possibility of genetic control of pain is not far away, and it is worth to be expected.
About CRISPR/Cas 9 system
Microorganisms have been used for the production of fermented food products, such as cheese, sourdough, beer, wine, and vinegar. By transforming raw materials to value-added products with superior flavor, texture, and longevity, humans have enjoyed the benefits of this biotechnology. Microorganisms genome editing can optimize the metabolic pathways and phenotypes of the most familiar industrial microorganisms, greatly improve the production traits of the strains and shorten the breeding cycle.