Episode Summary

Enhancing a virus with magnetic nanoparticles and CRISPR-Cas gene editing abilities makes it a good vector for genetic therapies! 

Microbe of the episode

Staphylococcus virus S253 

Jesse's takeaways

Gene delivery, getting genetic content for gene therapy to the correct tissues in an organism, has long been a very tricky problem. And genetic modification, making specific changes at a specific place in a genome, is also difficult.

Viruses can help with both delivery and modification, but they're often not specific and targeted enough to be effective, or even safe. Off-target effects could be harmful or even deadly, potentially resulting in cancer.

In this study, a virus is modified with nanotechnology in the form of tiny magnets to allow humans to target it to specific tissues, and given the ability to modify specific genes using the bacterial CRISPR-Cas system. These modifications potentially make this gene delivery system much more safe and effective.

News discussed

Moths and magnets could save lives

Journal Paper

Zhu H, Zhang L, Tong S, Lee CM, Deshmukh H, Bao G. 2018. Spatial control of in vivo CRISPR–Cas9 genome editing via nanomagnets. Nat Biomed Eng. 

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