Post 4: Synthetic Bio, CRISPR/Cas9, and infecting the body with a healthy immune response

To move forward with the project, the team has decided to focus on Multiple Sclerosis only and to research 5 different solutions that can all work together to cure the disease. Since we have a group of 5, we decided that each person can work on one specific version of a cure that focuses on one step of the autoimmune response that causes the body to attack itself, thus everyone has individualized and important job in the project. The idea behind 5 solutions is that there are so many steps in an immune response, and only focusing on one step to try to stop the attack has failed over and over again in the field. Either the treatment doesn’t work well enough, it only helps a little, or it doesn’t work at all. However, since the field is under researched and the treatments are under developed, creating five different solutions and pairing them together can greatly widen the scope of knowledge with MS and create a series of backup protection if any one of the five steps were to fail.

For my specific step, I will be focusing on the aftermath of an MS autoimmune attack, which is the last defense in our cure idea. Our idea for this step is using the technology developed like CRISPR/Cas9 that genetically modifies a genome in a bacteria or virus. If we were to gene edit a virus, and properly identify the genes in the human genome that remyelinate oligendrocytes and the myelin sheath, then we could edit out all the genes in a specific carrier virus that causes its own immune response and edit in the genes that causes myelination. Therefore, in theory, the virus would infect the human body with the “disease” of remyelination. We would have to pick a virus that focuses solely on the nervous system, and stays with you for life. It also has to have a long enough genome to accommodate human genes. A virus that fits that criteria for example would be the herpes simplex virus, and other than the problem that the idea of giving someone herpes to cure MS by nature has a pretty negative ring to it, it would theoretically be a feasible carrier virus.

https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/0092-8674(79)90023-0.pdf

 

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