Lim KRQ, Yoon C, Yokota T. Applications of CRISPR/Cas9 for the Treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Journal of personalized medicine 2018;8.
A critical review on the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology as a gene editing therapy for DMD.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal X-linked recessive neuromuscular disease prevalent in 1 in 3500 to 5000 males worldwide. As a result of mutations that interrupt the reading frame of the dystrophin gene (DMD), DMD is characterized by a loss of dystrophin protein that leads to decreased muscle membrane integrity, which increases susceptibility to degeneration. CRISPR/Cas9 technology has garnered interest as an avenue for DMD therapy due to its potential for permanent exon skipping, which can restore the disrupted DMD reading frame in DMD and lead to dystrophin restoration. An RNA-guided DNA endonuclease system, CRISPR/Cas9 allows for the targeted editing of specific sequences in the genome. The efficacy and safety of CRISPR/Cas9 as a therapy for DMD has been evaluated by numerous studies in vitro and in vivo, with varying rates of success. Despite the potential of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing for the long-term treatment of DMD, its translation into the clinic is currently challenged by issues such as off-targeting, immune response activation, and sub-optimal in vivo delivery. Its nature as being mostly a personalized form of therapy also limits applicability to DMD patients, who exhibit a wide spectrum of mutations. This review summarizes the various CRISPR/Cas9 strategies that have been tested in vitro and in vivo for the treatment of DMD. Perspectives on the approach will be provided, and the challenges faced by CRISPR/Cas9 in its road to the clinic will be briefly discussed.