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Subspecialties Glaucoma, Basic & Translational Research

On Cloud Cas9?

CRISPR-Cas9 has had a whirlwind impact on gene editing; the versatile method of targeting specific DNA strands even winning the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. And, of course, the technique hasn’t been overlooked by the field ophthalmology; ocular diseases with clear genetic drivers of pathology are prime targets for such genetic manipulation – and one such example is primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), where elevated TGFβ2 expression contributes to increased IOP through pathological changes in the trabecular meshwork (TM). Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, USA, screened for the optimal genetic sequence to inhibit TGFβ2 expression – and proved its utility in human TM cells and in a mouse model of TGFβ2-induced ocular hypertension (1). Clearly, such “CRISPR interference” can only be used to treat POAG when elevated TGFβ2 expression plays a role – but will this proof of concept mean that surgeons increasingly switch from the scalpel to the molecular scissors?

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  1. MP Rayana et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 62, 7 (2021). PMID: 34499703.
About the Author
Geoffrey Potjewyd

Associate Editor, The Ophthalmologist

The lion’s share of my PhD was spent in the lab, and though I mostly enjoyed it (mostly), what I particularly liked was the opportunity to learn about the latest breakthroughs in research. Communicating science to a wider audience allows me to scratch that itch without working all week only to find my stem cell culture has given up the ghost on the Friday (I’m not bitter). Fortunately for me, it turns out writing is actually fun – so by working for Texere I get to do it every day, whilst still being an active member of the clinical and research community.

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