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Haematologica. 2019 May;104(5):881-893. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2018.211359. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

CRISPR to fix bad blood: a new tool in basic and clinical hematology.

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Hematology Research Group, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe, Valencia.
Grupo de Investigación en Biomedicina Molecular, Celular y Genómica, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe, Valencia.
CIBER de Enfermedades Raras, Madrid.
Hematology Department, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia.
CIBER de Oncología, Madrid, Spain.
Hematology Research Group, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe, Valencia


Advances in genome engineering in the last decade, particularly in the development of programmable nucleases, have made it possible to edit the genomes of most cell types precisely and efficiently. Chief among these advances, the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system is a novel, versatile and easy-to-use tool to edit genomes irrespective of their complexity, with multiple and broad applications in biomedicine. In this review, we focus on the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in the context of hematologic diseases and appraise the major achievements and challenges in this rapidly moving field to gain a clearer perspective on the potential of this technology to move from the laboratory to the clinic. Accordingly, we discuss data from studies editing hematopoietic cells to understand and model blood diseases, and to develop novel therapies for hematologic malignancies. We provide an overview of the applications of gene editing in experimental, preclinical and clinical hematology including interrogation of gene function, target identification and drug discovery and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell engineering. We also highlight current limitations of CRISPR/Cas9 and the possible strategies to overcome them. Finally, we consider what advances in CRISPR/Cas9 are needed to move the hematology field forward.

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