STA, 13 January 2020 - A senior Chemistry Institute researcher has received a EUR 150,000 follow-up grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop applications for a novel gene-editing method that had been discovered as part of an earlier ERC grant.
Roman Jerala, the head of the Chemistry Institute's synthetic biology department, had received the prestigious EUR 2.5 million ERC advanced grant for protein research in 2018 and his team have already discovered a novel way to use the popular CRISPR gene editing technique.
The new proof of concept grant that he received now is meant to facilitate the transfer of these scientific findings into practice, for forging partnerships, and for the initial phase of commercial deployment.
Last year the Chemistry Institute submitted a patent application for the improved CRISPR method, now the researchers plan to develop technologies for biotechnical use in plants, microorganisms and mammal cells.
The new project is called CCEdit and will last 12-18 months in cooperation with researchers from Oxford University and Cambridge University, links that are expected to improve the commercial potential of the technique.
Cell and gene therapy is one of the fastest-growing areas of medicine and provides new avenues for treatment of the most difficult diseases, including cancer.