The use of CRISPR/Cas associated technologies for cell transplant applications

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Purpose of review

In this review, I will summarize recent developments in the use of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated 9 (Cas9) genome editing system for cell transplant applications, ranging from transplantation of corrected autologous patient stem cells to treat inherited diseases, to the tailoring of donor pigs for cell xenotransplantation. Rational engineering of the Cas9 nuclease to improve its specificity will also be discussed.

Recent findings

Over the past year, CRISPR/Cas9 has been used in preclinical studies to correct mutations in a rapidly increasing spectrum of diseases including hematological, neuromuscular, and respiratory disorders. The growing popularity of CRISPR/Cas9 over earlier genome editing platforms is partly due to its ease of use and flexibility, which is evident from the success of complex manipulations such as specific deletion of up to 725 kb in patient-derived stem cells, and simultaneous disruption of up to 62 endogenous retrovirus loci in pig cells. In addition, high-fidelity variants of Cas9 with greatly increased specificity are now available.


CRISPR/Cas9 is a fast-evolving technology that is likely to have a significant impact on autologous, allogeneic, and xenogeneic cell transplantation.

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