ARTICLE | Product Development

Rise of the dead Cas to edit the epigenome

Start-ups are tuning gene expression by hitching a range of effector domains to catalytically dead CRISPR machinery

August 18, 2022 9:08 PM UTC

The maturation of catalytically dead CRISPR-Cas systems is driving a more targeted wave of epigenetic therapies. While early advances focused on delivering transcription factor domains to target sites, a growing cluster of companies aims to tune gene expression in a more durable way by editing heritable epigenetic marks.

The environmentally responsive nature of epigenetic marks that activate or silence chromatin, such as acetyl and methyl groups, make them promising targets for a range of indications including aging-related diseases and health disparities born of socioeconomic factors, where external stimuli such as inflammation, stress, viruses and pollutants can play a big role...