Stem Cells therapies and CRISPR gene-editing are not new. Having able to grow the desired cells and manipulate the genome system have proved to be the most important breakthrough so far.
We all are aware of the fact that Embryos possess the potential to produce pluripotent cells that researchers experiment on to produce Regenerative Medicine. But that results in the killing of a nascent embryo. So, inducing adult cells to transform into pluripotent was practiced upon to avoid endangering embryos.
But, the potential obstacle ‘immune system rejection’ was still haunting. Scientists earlier were relying solely on Immunosuppressants but that resulted in the patients getting more susceptible to infections. It was also thought that induced pluripotent cells (iPSC) would solve all the rejection related obstacles. Scientists used to take cells from human skin or other fat cells from the patient and reprogram them into iPSC. But clinical use of iPSCs was quite of a challenge. Because many cells proved unreceptive after reprogramming. Other than that it proved to be expensive and time-consuming as well.
To overcome this hindrance scientists have come up with a new matured combination of using STEM CELL THERAPY and CRISPR gene editing tool together. The Scientists used the CRISPR cas-9 to omit the two genes that are required for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II to work properly. MHC proteins are the proteins that are present in every cell and send the signal to the immune system notifying it being foreign. Here the twist is that the absence of only those two genes can prevent the killing of that particular cell. If the whole of MHC remains absconded then the cell will be likely to get targeted by Immune cells- Natural Killer cells.
Also, a cell surface protein CD47 has been found to have the full ability to label itself with ‘do not eat me’ signal.
These simple yet important gene editing insights have increased massive cell survival
Not only have the discoveries of MHC genes and CD47 solved the problem of Immune System Rejection but also the production cost.
Generally, the CRISPR gene editing tool is used to modify the genome of induced pluripotent cells to prevent cell death. But from now on CRISPR will be used to modify the stem cells to get rid of rejection problem too.