“Honeycomb” of Nanotubes Could Boost Genetic Engineering

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center

Researchers have developed a new and highly efficient method for gene transfer.  The technique, which involves culturing and transfecting cells with genetic material on an array of carbon nanotubes, appears to overcome the limitations of other gene editing technologies.

The device, which is described in a study published today in the journal Small, is the product of a collaboration between researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

“This platform holds the potential to make the gene transfer process more robust and decrease toxic effects, while increasing amount and diversity of genetic cargo we can deliver into cells,” said Ian Dickerson, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the URMC and co-author of the paper.

Gene transfer therapies have long held great promise in medicine.  New gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas9, now enable researchers to precisely target segments of genetic code giving rise to a range of potential scientific and medical applications from fixing genetic defects, to manipulating stem cells, to reengineering immune cells to fight infection and cancer. 

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