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CRISPR-Based Method for Finding Cancer-Associated Exosomal MicroRNAs in Blood

In a paper appearing in ACS Sensors, researchers at Zhengzhou University outline a CRISPR gene editing approach for finding potential exosomal microRNA-based cancer biomarkers. The "liposome-mediated membrane fusion strategy" (MFS) involves CRISPR-Cas13a transfection into the cells' exosome, the team explains, making it possible to detect exosomal miRNAs such as miR-21, a miRNA linked to breast cancer. When they applied MFS-CRISPR to plasma samples from 10 individuals with breast cancer and 10 unaffected control individuals, for example, the authors saw an uptick in miR-21 expression in the breast cancer cases that was supported by independent RT-qPCR-based testing. Based on these and other results, "we proposed [an] MFS-CRISPR platform for detection of exosomal miRNAs with high specificity and sensitivity," they write, noting that "the proposed method may have potential for cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring."

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.