Kiana Aran holding computer 700x550

Researcher Granted $1.63M by NIH to Set Quality Standards for Gene Editing

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A researcher will use a four-year, $1.63 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help set up a quality control system for CRISPR-based therapies aimed at certain genetic disorders, starting with sickle cell disease (SCD).

The grant was awarded to Kiana Aran, PhD, an associate professor of medical diagnostics and therapeutics who heads the Aran Lab at the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), in California.

CRISPR is a gene-editing tool that allows scientists to correct disease-causing mutations by making changes to a cell’s DNA sequence with relative ease. It involves the use of an RNA molecule that guides an enzyme protein to a specific point in the DNA sequence of a gene. The enzyme then cuts open the DNA at that point and removes some of its building blocks, leaving open a gap where new building blocks can be added.

The tool is not always as precise as it could be, however.

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