CRISPR, a cutting-edge genetic technology, shows potential in fighting cancer by modifying genes responsible for triggering tumor formation. It works by using enzymes to target and modify specific sections of DNA. Scientists are exploring different ways to use CRISPR in cancer treatment. One way in which scientists are exploring using this new technology is by turning off harmful genes such as MYC

The MYC oncogene can affect cellular activities such as the “cell cycle, apoptosis, DNA damage response, and hematopoiesis”. When this gene gets deregulated, it can lead to the emergence of a range of cancers. In AP Bio, when reviewing cancer biology, we learned that an oncogene is a gene that has potential to cause cancer when it is mutated. Mutations or alterations in these genes can lead to their abnormal activation or over expression, disrupting normal cellular processes and contributing to the development of cancer. Specifically we learned that an oncogene is like a gas pedal that is stuck down, causing cells to divide uncontrollably. Because MYC is an oncogene, it can cause a variety of cancers which is what makes this new technology so important and current. Having worked at a summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings, I have seen how much cancer can disrupt not only a child’s life, but an entire family’s life. Research on CRISPR gives me hope. 

Furthermore, scientists also aim to use CRISPER in boosting the body’s immune response against cancer cells, and fixing genetic mistakes that cause cancer. This technique uses the CRISPR-Cas system which guides RNA molecules to locate and eliminate cancer cells while sparing the healthy cells. The process involves designing guide RNA molecules to bind specifically to cancer cell DNA, loading them onto a CRISPR-associated protein (Cas) complex, and introducing this complex into the one’s body through different methods. Once inside the cancer cells, the CRISPR-Cas complex cuts cancer-causing genes, leading to cell death. The goal is to make this approach viable for clinical use. In this photo, you can see the A pairing with T and C pairing with G which is something else we have learned about in AP Bio. 


The schematic diagram of CRISPR-Cas9

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