Promotive Communications

Lab MayJune2017_digital (1)

Laboratory Focus is Canada's leading editorial-based lab publication. Providing readers with the latest technology updates through application and tech notes, as well as covering new products and trends in laboratories across Canada.

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R&D News ................. 1 Appointments ............ 7 Pharma Notes .......... 15 New Products .......... 16 App Reviews ............. 18 P h a r m a c e u t i c a l c l i n i c a l c h e m i c a l f o o d e n v i r o n m e n t w w w . l a b o r a t o r y f o c u s . c a may/June 2017 volume 21, number 2 Publications Mail Registration Number: 40052410 researchers call for caution on crisPr Zymeworks raises us$85-m in iPo CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Inter- spaced Short Palindromic Repeats) appears to be the new darling of biotech. There are some 20 human trials in progress, mostly in China, involving the novel gene-editing technique which has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. But it doesn't stop there. Re- searchers are also using CRISPR in experiments aimed at creating mutant mosquitos bioengineered to resist malaria-causing parasites. Scientists are using CRISPR to in- sert the DNA of wooly mammoths into lab-grown elephants in order to bring the extinct prehistoric animals back to life. CRISPR is such a power tool that there are some people calling for caution on how scientists employ the gene-editing technique. CRISPR-Cas9, which enables scientists to edit the DNA of any species with extreme precision and efficiency, offers hope of deliver- ing an affordable way of targeting cancers with altered immune cells and treating other diseases such as leukemia and HIV/AIDS. Despite the technique's touted precision, a new study indicates cloud-connecting your pipette and notebook Page 8 validation of colorants in microchips for real-time Pcr ariadna Page 11 continued on page 2 continued on page 3 that mutations occur in the areas where DNA has been cut. A recent study in the titled Un- expected mutations after CRISPR- Cas9 editing in vivo which was published in the Nature Methods, said scientists investigated muta- tions which occurred in mice DNA that had undergone CRISPR gene editing. "The investigators were able to determine that CRISPR had suc- cessfully corrected a gene that causes blindness, but found that the genomes of two independent gene therapy recipients had sus- tained more than 1,500 single-nu- cleotide mutations and more than 100 larger deletions and insertions," the Genetic Engineering and Bio- technology News reported. "None of these DNA mutations were pre- dicted by computer algorithms that are widely used by researchers to look for off-target effects." Dr. Vinit Mahajan, a co-author of the study, remains hopeful for CRISPR. "We're still upbeat about CRISPR, we're physicians, and we know that every new therapy has some potential side effects – but we need to be aware of what they are," Mahajan was quoted in a BigThink. com article. CRISPR could alter regions of the genome which researchers are not targeting, according to Dr. J. Keith Joung of Massachusetts General Hospital, a report from StatNews. com said. At a recent American Society of Hematology workshop on genome- editing, Joung showed some 150 experts from industry and academia an example where CRISPR is sup- posed to edit the VEGFA gene on chromosome 6. VEGFA stimulates production of blood vessels, in- cluding those used by cancerous tumors. Joung said studies have shown that the CRISPR can hit genes on every one of the other 22 human chromosomes. The issue of off-target effects is important. There is the possibility Study shows CRISPR could alter regions of the genome which researchers are not targeting Vancouver biotherapeutics firm's initial public offering seen as great step forward for Canadian life sciences space Canada's biotech sector was in the spotlight this June with the announcement that Vancouver's Zymeworks had raised $85 million in its initial public offering. The clinical-stage biopharmaceu- tical company is the first Canadian

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