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Universities could do more to ensure CRISPR gene editing tools are widely available to researchers, a Nature editorial argues.

It notes that Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands announced earlier this week that it would be providing free licenses to non-profit organizations wanting to apply its CRISPR gene-editing approach to plants for non-commercial applications. Nature adds that other research institutions that hold CRISPR-related patents like the Broad Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, allow their CRISPR tools and IP to be freely used by non-profits, but it says they and others could also make CRISPR tools better accessible to researchers.

As most CRISPR patents held by universities or other publicly funded research institutes, Nature argues they "are in a strong position to influence change."

"The time has come for all universities that hold CRISPR patents, along with public funders and international institutions such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, to consider how they might join forces so that IP on CRISPR can be more easily accessed free of charge for research, under clear and transparent rules," Nature writes.

The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.