Team:Nanjing NFLS


NFLS iGEM 2018


Cancer is a serious disease worldwide and it is caused by a series of alterations in genome and epigenome. Its existence in multiple complex forms makes it difficult to prevent and/or treat.

In recent 5 years, CRISPR has been developed into a cost-effective and convenient tool for gene editing and regulation. Telomere is a repetitive sequence at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomerase is responsible for the maintenance of telomere, which is silent in most normal somatic cells but active in 90% of tumor cells, making it as an excellent target for cancer therapy.Therefore, various telomerase activity inhibitors have been developed and applied to treat cancer. However, these inhibitors all failed due to unavoidable side effects.

In this study, we would like to act oppositely to utilize the telomerase activity. We would like to construct a telomerase-activating gene expression (Tage) system thatconsists of an effective gene expression vector. The vector carries a telomerase-recognizing 3ʹ single-stranded overhang (5ʹ-TTAGGG-3ʹ) and Cas9 gene, an artificial transcription factor dCas9-VP64 and ansgRNA targeting telomere repeat sequences. They will be applied in tumor cell growth inhibition and cancer therapy.

The goal of our project is to develop a cancer therapy that can selectively target and kill various kinds of tumor cells while it exerts no effects on normal cells.