International UPCH conference gathers leading researchers on CRISPR – University of Copenhagen

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19 September 2016

International UPCH conference gathers leading researchers on CRISPR

CRISPR

The gene editing CRISPR-technology is progressing by leaps and bounds. Denmark is a leading player in this field and the University of Copenhagen hosts a large and ambitious conference where scientists from all over the world gather to share their knowledge on CRISPR and define new perspectives for future research.

For two days this coming week, the University of Copenhagen will host an ambitious conference with leading researchers on the new and widely publicized CRISPR-technology. In popular terms, the technology enables gene modification and editing.

“CRISPR-technology is cheap, easy to use, and efficient, and is opening new avenues how to conduct biomedical research. That is why everybody is so exited about it! And CRISPR is still further developing at an amazing speed: New applications, new variants, and optimized protocols.  So we’re hoping that this conference will provide us with a snapshot of how far we have actually come with CRISPR. In addition, we also hope that by gathering internationally leading experts, we’ll be able to promote and encourage networking possibilities, as this will allow us to discuss challenges but also possible solutions. We wish to drive the research forward, thus enabling the future use of CRISPR in treatments of hereditary or acquired diseases such as haemophilia or HIV / AIDS,” says Professor Cord Brakebusch, a group leader at BRIC, the University of Copenhagen.

Denmark is leading in CRISPR
CRISPR-technology saw the light of day a few years back, when researchers found a protein that was able to cut DNA at a specific location defined by the researcher. For this, the protein uses an RNA sequence to find out exactly where to cut the DNA; a problem research had previously only been able to address by way of long and difficult processes. This technology, on the other hand, enables entirely new approaches to pushing genetic research forward, and Denmark is at the front of this development.

“As soon as the technology saw the light of day, the University of Copenhagen was quick to recognize the perspectives involved, and so the university supported continued research, which alongside the work of highly skilful researchers, contributed to the fact that today, we have some of the strongest resources in the field. Denmark’s strong position in the field of CRISPR is a good example of how vital early support is if you wish to stay ahead in any important field of research. It’s important both in relation to a knowledge-based society, but naturally, first and foremost to future patients, who will in the long run benefit from our research,” Cord Brakebusch, explains. In a few years, according to Brakebusch, CRISPR will be a fully integrated part of the everyday life of a genetic scientist.

CRISPR technology is still very new and not yet applicable to humans. Currently, CRISPR is primarily used to create genetically modified cells and animals, in particular mice, which helps to understand the function of specific genes in disease and to find novel drug targets. The University of Copenhagen is internationally recognized for its production of transgenic mice, tailored to specific research projects by way of CRISPR. Genetic modifications can make mice better models for human diseases and thus increase the relevance of the results obtained. As a consequence, using less mice one achieves better results, which contributes to the aim of minimizing the number of animals sacrificed for research.

The conference: “GRISPR genome editing: From high-throughput screening to disease models” takes place on Thursday 22 September and Friday 23 September at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, the University of Copenhagen. It has been organized in collaboration with Aarhus University.

Contact: 
Professor Cord Brakebusch, e-mail: cord.brakebusch@sund.ku.dk, phone: +45 35 32 56 19

Press Officer Kristine Snedker, e-mail: kristine.snedker@sund.ku.dk, mobile: +45 23 64 88 42.