CRISPR Gene Therapy: Applications, Limitations, and Implications for the Future

Fathema Uddin, Charles M. Rudin, Triparna Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


A series of recent discoveries harnessing the adaptive immune system of prokaryotes to perform targeted genome editing is having a transformative influence across the biological sciences. The discovery of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins has expanded the applications of genetic research in thousands of laboratories across the globe and is redefining our approach to gene therapy. Traditional gene therapy has raised some concerns, as its reliance on viral vector delivery of therapeutic transgenes can cause both insertional oncogenesis and immunogenic toxicity. While viral vectors remain a key delivery vehicle, CRISPR technology provides a relatively simple and efficient alternative for site-specific gene editing, obliviating some concerns raised by traditional gene therapy. Although it has apparent advantages, CRISPR/Cas9 brings its own set of limitations which must be addressed for safe and efficient clinical translation. This review focuses on the evolution of gene therapy and the role of CRISPR in shifting the gene therapy paradigm. We review the emerging data of recent gene therapy trials and consider the best strategy to move forward with this powerful but still relatively new technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1387
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - 7 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • clinical trial
  • ethics
  • gene therapy
  • homology-directed repair (HDR)
  • non-homologous end joining (NHEJ)


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