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On the Horizon

Leading news, knowledge, and industry trends in genetic research

Cancer fusion genes are hybrid genes that produce abnormal proteins believed to catalyze further cancer growth and increase invasiveness. Here we highlight novel research using CRISPR gene editing to specifically target cancer fusion genes, which could offer many potential therapeutic applications.



The cellular DNA damage response (DDR) is an essential safeguard against cancer. Upon activation, the DDR can limit tumor progression at the early stages by inducing senescence or cell death. When this defense fails tumors are able to develop. However, with time, tumors accumulate more mutations in DNA repair proteins as cancers progress. The efficiency of DDR plays an essential role in the effectivity of cytotoxic treatments. Currently much research is focused on identifying the DDR mechanisms involved in cancers and how these dysfunctional processes can be utilized against tumor growth.


One of the highest ideals in science is to observe natural events in their native context. Doing so is a constant challenge thanks to the Observer Effect, described by Heisenberg and others, where the act of observing or measuring a process alters it. Thus, scientists of all stripes try to get out of the way, attempting to produce the most accurate measurements possible using specific yet unobtrusive tools. Wildlife photographers use long-range lenses to avoid the need to stand directly in front of a herd of water buffalo and thereby affect the animals behavior. Psychologists create tests where the subjects are unaware of the true intent so as to minimize changes in natural responses.




In a paper published on Nature.com in Scientific Reports, Horizon Discovery have conducted a detailed analysis of CRISPR-Cas9 sensitivity (drop-out) screening to come up with a highly improved and optimized platform. In our analysis, we used a custom ultra-complex sgRNA library and capitalized on Horizon's streamlined screening pipeline to evaluate fundamental aspects of functional genomic screening.



Next-generation sequencing (NGS), has become a universal tool in diverse industries; most recently moving into the clinic for patient diagnosis. However, if labs wish to analyze patient-derived materials they must first face a hurdles labs to optimize and validate their workflow including determining the exact test limitations.