Towards Nonviral, In Vivo Genome Editing Therapies: New Tools, Models, and Policy to Facilitate Translation,
Friday, October 25, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
203 Teer Building
Krishanu Saha, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Joint seminar sponsored by the Duke Center for Advanced Genomic Technologies (CAGT) and the Duke Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering (CBTE). Lunch will be provided!
Abstract: Genome editing tools have high potential to directly fix or disrupt gene mutations responsible for a wide variety of diseases. Developing safe and effective therapies using in vivo somatic genome editing, however, faces a number of challenges including efficient delivery, manufacturing at scale, and determination of unintended off-target effects in relevant biological systems. We have developed new approaches to inform first-in-human studies that combine patient-derived, induced pluripotent stem cell models with new delivery nanocarriers and computational models. Our results indicate that mutation-specific, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editors can be designed to efficiently target mutant alleles without substantial off-target effects. Patients who are non-responders to frontline gene augmentation therapies are likely to be good candidates for such gene editing approaches. Further, tailored polymeric nanoparticles can efficiently deliver these editors, simplifying manufacturing by avoiding viral vectors. Finally, computational models for in vivo somatic editing, grounded in empirical data from in vitro models and delivery studies, indicate that injectable off-the-shelf nonviral genome editors can be efficacious. Applications of these tools will be described for inherited ocular disorders in particular and are likely generalizable to many rare disorders. With appropriate collective action and changes in science and regulatory policy, these advances could enable a new generation of individualized and precision medicine approaches using customizable off-the-shelf gene editing therapeutics.
Biography: Krishanu Saha is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Carbone Cancer Center, and Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center as well as the National Academies’ Forum on Regenerative Medicine. He is currently the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for NIH's Somatic Cell Genome Editing Consortium.
Prior to his arrival in Madison, Dr. Saha studied Chemical Engineering at Cornell University and the University of California in Berkeley. He was a Society in Science: Branco-Weiss fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, and in the Science and Technology Studies program at Harvard University. Major thrusts of his lab involve gene editing and cell engineering of human cells found in the retina, central nervous system, muscle and blood.