Pharma Focus Asia
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Penn Medicine Discovered Novel Technique for Human Artificial Chromosomes

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have unveiled a pioneering method for creating human artificial chromosomes, representing a significant breakthrough in genetic engineering.

Human artificial chromosomes (HACs), which have the potential to drive advanced gene therapies targeting certain cancers and various laboratory applications, have faced significant technical hurdles hindering their progress.

However, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has achieved a significant breakthrough in this area, circumventing a common obstacle. The novel approach allows for the more rapid and precise creation of HACs, thus accelerating the pace of DNA research. With an effective delivery system, this advancement holds promise for enhancing engineered cell therapies for diseases like cancer.

The potential benefits of artificial chromosomes are numerous, provided they can be easily delivered to cells and function similarly to natural chromosomes. They offer safer, more efficient, and more enduring platforms for expressing therapeutic genes compared to virus-based gene-delivery systems. Viral vectors can incite immune responses and involve risky viral integration into natural chromosomes. 

Additionally, artificial chromosomes mimic the complex regulatory mechanisms inherent in natural chromosomes, which are crucial for proper gene expression and challenging to replicate artificially outside a chromosomal context. 

Furthermore, artificial chromosomes, unlike cramped viral vectors, enable the expression of large, cooperative sets of genes, facilitating the construction of complex protein assemblies.

The researchers demonstrated that their method is notably more efficient in generating viable HACs compared to conventional techniques. These HACs are capable of self-replication during cell division.

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