CRISPR gene editing helps to prevent cocaine addiction in Mice.

21 September 2018_campuscad


Researchers from the University of Chicago develop a new technic to reduce the addiction of cocaine. The process is successfully applied on animal sample mice (Cocaine addicted mice).

What is CRISPR?

Its an abbreviation of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. In simple words, it is a family of DNA sequence in Bacteria with repetitive base. The CRISPR system is prokaryotic immune system which helps to resist the foreign elements. It is a gene editing tool in which we can add a good DNA segment and remove the harmful one from the DNA strand.

Researchers Xiaoyang Wu and Ming Xu used a gene editing platform CRISPR to modify the DNA of skin stem cells.

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) enzyme that naturally degrades or break down the cocaine was used earlier in the research. But the effect of the enzyme is too short to get any result on the mice body.

So, researcher came up with the way around, how can mice body will continuously secretes the BChE enzyme for longer period of time to fight with cocaine?

Xiaoyang Wu and Ming Xu modified the skin stem cells with the help of CRISPR gene editing technique and modified the DNA of the mice which can then able to secrets BChE into the blood for almost 10 weeks.

After transplanting the skin stem cells (skin graft- healthy skin is transplanted to a new site) into the cocaine addicted mice body, shown significant effect to not seeking the Cocaine and also shown the immune to cocaine overdose. Other addicted mice got killed on cocaine overdose.  

The paper published online in Nature Biomedical Engineering journal and researchers said, they are hopeful to break down the addiction of cocaine in humans as well.  

More than 14,000 people died in 2017 in US alone due to drug overdose. After taking the drug frequently, body could be less sensitive over the time and seek more drug usage and resulted into overdose.

Similar process also can be used to reduce the addiction of alcohol and nicotine, said researchers.

Leave a Comment