PreprintPDF Available

The Coming CRISPR Wars: Or why genome editing can be more dangerous than nuclear weapons

  • Oxford Advanced Research Foundation
Preprints and early-stage research may not have been peer reviewed yet.

Abstract and Figures

While CRISPR-Cas genome editing technology has been heralded as a great advancement for science, human health, bioengineering and medicine, there is a potential dark side of CRISPR genome editing that may be a greater danger to humanity than nuclear weapons. We present some of the more obvious potential military and bioterrorism applications of CRISPR and related genome editing technology. CRISPR weapons have significant advantages over conventional nuclear weapons. The balance of power based on mutual assured destruction cannot be maintained once CRISPR weapons enter the international arena. Disturbingly, because of the easy entrance to the technology, it opens the door for small organizations and countries to enter the international arms arena. The simplicity and ease of development of such weapons makes it essential that CRISPR genome editing technology be carefully applied and regulated.
Content may be subject to copyright.
The Coming CRISPR Wars:
Or why genome editing can be more dangerous
than nuclear weapons
Eric Werner *
Oxford Advanced Research Foundation
While CRISPR-Cas genome editing technology has been heralded as a great ad-
vancement for science, human health, bioengineering and medicine, there is a
potential dark side of CRISPR genome editing that may be a greater danger to
humanity than nuclear weapons. We present some of the more obvious poten-
tial military and bioterrorism applications of CRISPR and related genome editing
technology. CRISPR weapons have significant advantages over conventional nu-
clear weapons. The balance of power based on mutual assured destruction cannot
be maintained once CRISPR weapons enter the international arena. Disturbingly,
because of the easy entrance to the technology, it opens the door for small organi-
zations and countries to enter the international arms arena. The simplicity and ease
of development of such weapons makes it essential that CRISPR genome editing
technology be carefully applied and regulated.
Key words:CRISPR/Cas, CRISPR, genome editing, weapons of mass destruction, genocide, biotech-
nology, war, militarization, cancer bomb, cancer cure, nonzero sum games, zero sum games, strategies of
conflict, Schelling
*©Eric Werner 2019. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Eric Werner has a Ph.D. in logic and is a research scientist specializing in
distributed artificial intelligence, systems biology, biotechnology, cancer modeling and simulation. He recently de-
veloped new protocols to treat cancer via genome editing using CRISPR in combination with dna-CAD (Computer
Aided Design) software. Dr. Werner last worked at the University of Oxford for 11 years in both the department of
computer science and the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics. Previously he worked at many of the
world’s top think tanks including INRIA in France, CNR in Rome, AAII the Stanford research labs in Australia,
and the Distributed Systems Research Group at the University of Hamburg and led a project with staand students
that developed the first four legged "insect" robot in Germany. He was chairman of the department of computer
science and Dana Faculty Fellow at Bowdoin College. He led robotic software development while a professor in
computer science at the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology.
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 2
1 Introduction 2
2 CRISPR for curing cancer and for creating a cancer bomb 2
2.1 The Cancer Bomb : Cancer is designed on the computer and translated into
real RNA/DNA and inserted into a live person using CRISPR with a viral vector 4
3 Real and present dangers of CRISPR weapons 4
4 Why CRISPR-weapons can be so dangerous 4
4.1 Unfortunately, there are further properties of potential CRISPR weapons that
makes them ideal weapons for precise, targeted mass destruction. ....... 4
5 The military perspective 5
6 CRISPR for genocide 6
7 How do we defend ourselves against CRISPR weaponry 6
8 Schelling’s Strategies of Conflict in the bio-information age 6
9 Conclusion 7
1 Introduction
CRISPR-based genome editing technology1is without understatement causing a revolution
in science and medicine. Developed just a few years ago it has captivated scientists like no
other recent biotechnological development. In short it allows a person with less than a high
school education to edit genomes of any animal or plant. Indeed, high school students are now
using this technology to do experiments that previously research scientists could only dream
2 CRISPR for curing cancer and for creating a cancer bomb
My research has focused on the wonderful potential of applying CRISPR-like genome network
editing to cure cancer[23,22,25,26,24]. It is based on the new cancer network paradigm[20]
which goes to the core of how cancer cells are controlled. It complements and extends classical
gene-based approaches to cancer therapy using genome editing[1,9,10,27,28].
1The word CRISPR will refer to CRISPR/Cas or similar genome editing technologies.
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 3
Unfortunately, once we can cure cancer by using CRISPR then one can also create cancer using
the same technology.
For example, we routinely use cancer-CAD software to design various cancers on the computer.
Then we use the same software to study such designed cancers by simulating their growth and
behavior. Finally, on the computer, at least, we can cure such cancers. We stop any such cancer
by applying an optimal network transformation in each cancer cell’s genome. As illustrated in
the sequence in Fig.1, we can either stop the cancer cells from growing or kill the cancer cells
or both.
(a) A few designed
cancer cells
(b) Cancer grows (c) Exponential growth
(d) Cancer stopped (e) Induced cell death (f) Former cancer cells
slowly dying
Fig. 1: Cancer birth and death Fig.1a With cancer-CAD software one of the normal cells (in
white) is transformed into a cancer cell (in red) which then starts dividing into a few cancer cells.
Fig.1b The cancer grows quickly. Fig.1c It grows exponentially. Fig.1d Using cancer-CAD software the
cancer cells are dierentiated into harmless cells (in purple). Fig.1e Next, the harmless cells are further
dierentiated to activate a cell death pathway resulting in their own suicide. Fig.1f The former cancer
cells slowly die.
All done with the aim of curing cancer while inducing minimal side-eects. The next step
to cure real cancers we need to translate this software technology to living organisms. This
requires further research. How much time that will take, we don’t know. It may be a long time
and it may be just around the corner.
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 4
2.1 The Cancer Bomb : Cancer is designed on the computer and translated into
real RNA/DNA and inserted into a live person using CRISPR with a viral
For this essay on the dangers of CRISPR, the important point is that we can already design
cancers on the computer. And, once we can cure live cancers, CRISPR will make it possible to
actually create live cancers. Thus, with any new technology there is the good, the bad and the
3 Real and present dangers of CRISPR weapons
But creating cancers is only one of the future dangers. There are real and immediate dangers
where the technology is fully in place now. Here are some of my additional worries about the
real present technologically feasible and ugly side of CRISPR:
The very simplicity of the applicability of CRISPR genome editing is what makes it potentially
extremely dangerous. It has properties that makes it an ideal military and terrorist weapon.
Here is why:
4 Why CRISPR-weapons can be so dangerous
1. CRISPR-Cas editing can be precisely designed to edit a particular section of a target
2. CRISPR edits can be delivered by viruses to a given host[16,12,1,14,15].
3. The edits can potentially be controlled by Boolean logic. Practically, that means the
editing transformation of the target genome is only applied if certain precisely specified
conditions are satisfied in the target animal or plant genome[28,11]. For example, two
persons can be infected by the same CRISPR editing virus yet only the person who
satisfies the preconditions, such as having an active gene for brown skin, will have their
genome edited
4.1 Unfortunately, there are further properties of potential CRISPR weapons
that makes them ideal weapons for precise, targeted mass destruction.
1. There is minimal risk to using this weapon if it is properly designed.
2The term "Cancer Bomb" does not originate with me. Unfortunately, it is a typical reaction of persons with
military backgrounds. When they hear that we can potentially cure cancers, their response is muted. However,
when they hear, in order to study cancers, we design and create cancers, their response is more enthusiastic: One
could weaponize such designed cancers into a "cancer bomb". After my initial reaction of disbelief, shock and
disgust, I began to think of how CRISPR weapons would work. The result is this essay.
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 5
2. The home population can be inoculated against the CRISPR viral vector in case the
Boolean preconditions are too broad.
3. Its eects can remain hidden for months.
4. CRISPR bombs do not have the long lasting toxic eects that nuclear weapons have.
5. It does not destroy property only the target organisms.
6. Given the ingenuity of the human race and its capacity for good and evil, engineers will
quickly discover CRISPR-like genome editing weapons that have properties such as:
(a) Highly precise lethality controlled by Boolean logic
(b) Dicult to detect
(c) With lag or no lag time
(d) Dicult to cure
(e) Wide dispersal
(f) Persistence in the target population over time. It is already being done for
mosquitos and bacteria[18,2]. Mosquitos are our close genetic relatives -at least
for many essential genes of life.
Thus, nuclear weapons are an outdated technology. Militarily CRISPR weapons are far supe-
rior to nuclear weapons and will likely replace them.
Together these properties of CRISPR-based editing make weaponizing CRISPR all too easy
(see also [7,17]).
One can create a virus that delivers CRISPR editing with the precondition that only those hu-
mans whose genomes satisfy those preconditions will be killed or disabled by the virus.
5 The military perspective
From a military perspective it is sucient that the person be incapacitated, no longer able to
perform their military role. With CRISPR-edits one can potentially create precise cancers that
kill persons within months. Unfortunately, it is much easier to create cancers than cure cancers
by genome editing.
The key attraction of a designed CRISPR-kill-virus as a military weapon is the precision of
mass incapacitation and extermination that it presents. As long as the preconditions only aect
the target adversary population and not the home population, the weapon has catastrophic
consequences for the potential adversary population.
Unfortunately, this essay is not an exercise in fantasy horror science fiction. It is a very real
present and future danger to humanity.
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 6
You can be sure that there are labs throughout the world that are already developing CRISPR-
technology for weaponization.
6 CRISPR for genocide
Given a certain group has a unique genetic property that dierentiates them from all others, then
ALL the members of that group are potential targets of a designed CRISPR-kill-virus.
The more general the conditions are, the greater the set of potential targets that can be killed.
For example, if the precondition is that the person must have brown eyes, then any brown eyed
person is a potential target of a designed CRISPR-kill-virus.
What edits can kill a person? One can attack any member of the set of genes essential to human
life. Once that gene is edited so that its protein no longer functions, the person will undergo a
slow, to rapid death depending on the which gene is disabled.
7 How do we defend ourselves against CRISPR weaponry
The bottom line is that we need to tread carefully:
1. We must make the public and political leaders aware of the dangers of CRISPR-based
genome editing.
2. Because there are real potential military outcomes of CRISPR-based genome editing,
we must urgently develop defense strategies to counter such potential attacks.
3. Any CRISPR edit can in principle be reversed. That is how, for example, a network
mutation that causes cancer can in principle be reversed to stop the cancer. So too, any
life essential gene can in principle be repaired by a reverse edit. However, this will
require a major research defense initiative.
4. It is paramount that we adopt consistent and universal international regulations of this
very dangerous technology.
5. Perhaps we need a new universal ethics so that the need to destroy other groups becomes
8 Schelling’s Strategies of Conflict in the bio-information age
CRISPR weaponization has international strategic consequences. Thomas Schelling’s classic
playbook[13], for a balanced international strategy in the nuclear age, no longer holds in the
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 7
bio-information age. Its the end of bargaining games (nonzero sum games)3. The classic Cold
War rationality was based on mutually assured destruction. Schelling’s strategy for avoiding
war required a delicate, dynamic balance of power.
To maintain the balance, if one side enhances or decreases its weapon capabilities then the
other must follow suit. This interactive process assumes mutual, functionally perfect informa-
tion about the other side’s capacities. I know what weapons you possess and you know what
weapons I posses and we both know the other knows this as well.
This perfect information was based on open inspection of the other’s nuclear facilities. Because
of the ease of creating CRISPR weapons in tiny labs that are practically impossible to detect,
mutual functionally perfect knowledge of weapon capacity fails. And with it the strategy based
on mutually assured destruction also fails. One cannot balance weapon capacity when you have
no idea what the other is doing.
Therefore, CRISPR weapons are a fundamental game changer. Schelling’s balanced, no win,
bargaining, nonzero sum game approaches the classic zero-sum game[19] where the player
who attacks first may win all. By Schelling’s own reasoning, this makes for a highly unstable
international situation[13].
Even more destabilizing is the ease of entry into the CRISPR technology. That means that
even players with limited resources can attain powerful positions in the international arms
arena. That means a two or three player game becomes a multiplayer game of highly imperfect
information with no rational solution.
9 Conclusion
On the one hand, CRISPR oers tremendous opportunities in biotechnology, the medical and
biological sciences, including disease prevention and food production.
On the other hand, CRISPR weapons destroy the delicate strategic balance of power that has
kept the world free of catastrophic wars. We facing a technology potentially more danger-
ous than nuclear weapons because of its ease of development and precision of applicability.
The precise targeting of a CRISPR-kill-virus means that there is no longer the hinderance of
mutually assured destruction that has kept a nuclear catastrophe at bay. Instead we face the
possibility of precise, targeted mass genocide.
[1] A. Biagioni, A. Laurenzana, F. Margheri, A. Chilla, G. Fibbi, and M. So. Delivery systems of crispr/cas9-
based cancer gene therapy. J Biol Eng, 12:33, 2018.
3As defined in Schelling[13] page 89
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 8
[2] D. Bikard, C. W. Euler, W. Jiang, P. M. Nussenzweig, G. W. Goldberg, X. Duportet, V. A. Fischetti, and L. A.
Marrani. Exploiting crispr-cas nucleases to produce sequence-specific antimicrobials. Nat Biotechnol,
32(11):1146–50, 2014.
[3] K. S. Bosley, M. Botchan, A. L. Bredenoord, D. Carroll, R. A. Charo, E. Charpentier, R. Cohen, J. Corn,
J. Doudna, G. Feng, H. T. Greely, R. Isasi, W. Ji, J. S. Kim, B. Knoppers, E. Lanphier, J. Li, R. Lovell-Badge,
G. S. Martin, J. Moreno, L. Naldini, M. Pera, A. C. Perry, J. C. Venter, F. Zhang, and Q. Zhou. Crispr germline
engineering–the community speaks. Nat Biotechnol, 33(5):478–86, 2015.
[4] D. Burstein, L. B. Harrington, S. C. Strutt, A. J. Probst, K. Anantharaman, B. C. Thomas, J. A. Doudna, and
J. F. Banfield. New crispr-cas systems from uncultivated microbes. Nature, 2016.
[5] F. R. Croteau, G. M. Rousseau, and S. Moineau. [the crispr-cas system: beyond genome editing]. Med Sci
(Paris), 34(10):813–819, 2018.
[6] R. Farooq, K. Hussain, S. Nazir, M. R. Javed, and N. Masood. Crispr/cas9; a robust technology for producing
genetically engineered plants. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand), 64(14):31–38, 2018.
[7] M. Greene and Z. Master. Ethical issues of using crispr technologies for research on military enhancement. J
Bioeth Inq, 15(3):327–335, 2018.
[8] F. Jiang, D. W. Taylor, J. S. Chen, J. E. Kornfeld, K. Zhou, A. J. Thompson, E. Nogales, and J. A. Doudna.
Structures of a crispr-cas9 r-loop complex primed for dna cleavage. Science, 351(6275):867–71, 2016.
[9] M. Legut, G. Dolton, A. A. Mian, O. G. Ottmann, and A. K. Sewell. Crispr-mediated tcr replacement gener-
ates superior anticancer transgenic t cells. Blood, 131(3):311–322, 2018.
[10] M. Legut and A. K. Sewell. Designer t-cells and t-cell receptors for customized cancer immunotherapies.
Curr Opin Pharmacol, 41:96–103, 2018.
[11] Y. Liu, J. Li, Z. Chen, W. Huang, and Z. Cai. Synthesizing artificial devices that redirect cellular information
at will. Elife, 7, 2018.
[12] M. OhAinle, L. Helms, J. Vermeire, F. Roesch, D. Humes, R. Basom, J. J. Delrow, J. Overbaugh, and
M. Emerman. A virus-packageable crispr screen identifies host factors mediating interferon inhibition of
hiv. Elife, 7, 2018.
[13] T. Schelling. The Strategy of Conflict. Harvard University Press, 1960.
[14] A. Singh, D. Chakraborty, and S. Maiti. Crispr/cas9: a historical and chemical biology perspective of targeted
genome engineering. Chem Soc Rev, 45(24):6666–6684, 2016.
[15] V. Singh, D. Braddick, and P. K. Dhar. Exploring the potential of genome editing crispr-cas9 technology.
Gene, 599:1–18, 2017.
[16] S. H. Sternberg and J. A. Doudna. Expanding the biologist’s toolkit with crispr-cas9. Mol Cell, 58(4):568–74,
[17] T. Tomlinson. A crispr future for gene-editing regulation: a proposal for an updated biotechnology regulatory
system in an era of human genomic editing. Fordham Law Rev, 87(1):437–83, 2018.
[18] V. S. Vigliotti and I. Martinez. Public health applications of crispr: How children’s health can benefit. Semin
Perinatol, 42(8):531–536, 2018.
[19] M. O. von Neumann J. The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. Princeton University Press, Princeton,
NJ, 1947.
[20] E. Werner. Cancer networks: A general theoretical and computational framework for understanding cancer.
arXiv:1110.5865v1 [q-bio.MN],, 2011b.
[21] E. Werner. Stem cells: The good, the bad and the ugly. arXiv:1608.00930v1 [q-bio.TO],, 2016.
[22] E. Werner. A roadmap to create synthetic multicellular life: Applications: Protocols to cure cancer, tissue
regeneration, network-designed heterosis-hybrid vigor. Preprint- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25575.96160, 2017.
[23] E. Werner. A roadmap to cure cancer: Combining crispr genome editing with cancer network editing.
Preprint- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23272.37127, 2017.
Eric Werner: The Coming CRISPR Wars 9
[24] E. Werner. The black widow protocol for coordinated cancer immunotherapy: Co-editing cancer cells and
t-cells for minimal immunotherapeutic side eects. Preprint-DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.21609.60002, 2018.
[25] E. Werner. A cancer cell suicide protocol using cancer-cad and crispr to edit cancer cell networks. Preprint-
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29065.95848, 2018.
[26] E. Werner. Viral black widow protocols for cancer immunotherapy: Matching cancer cell sig-
nals with oncolytic virus receptors for complete and consistent cancer eradication. Preprint-
10.13140/RG.2.2.10622.48968, 2018.
[27] A. L. Xia, Q. F. He, J. C. Wang, J. Zhu, Y. Q. Sha, B. Sun, and X. J. Lu. Applications and advances of
crispr-cas9 in cancer immunotherapy. J Med Genet, 2018.
[28] Q. Zhou, H. Zhan, X. Liao, L. Fang, Y. Liu, H. Xie, K. Yang, Q. Gao, M. Ding, Z. Cai, W. Huang, and
Y. Liu. A revolutionary tool: Crispr technology plays an important role in construction of intelligentized gene
circuits. Cell Prolif, page e12552, 2018.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
CRISPR/Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is today one of the most reliable method for gene-editing, supporting previous gene therapies technologies such as TALEN, Meganucleases and ZFNs. There is a growing up number of manuscripts reporting several successful gene-edited cancer cell lines, but the real challenge is to translate this technique to the clinical practice. While treatments for diseases based on a single gene mutation is closer, being possible to target and repair the mutant allele in a selective way generating specific guide RNAs (gRNAs), many steps need to be done to apply CRISPR to face cancer. In this review, we want to give a general overview to the recent advancements in the delivery systems of the CRISPR/Cas9 machinery in cancer therapy.
Full-text available
Interferon (IFN) inhibits HIV replication by inducing antiviral effectors. To comprehensively identify IFN-induced HIV restriction factors, we assembled a CRISPR sgRNA library of Interferon Stimulated Genes (ISGs) into a modified lentiviral vector that allows for packaging of sgRNA-encoding genomes in trans into budding HIV-1 particles. We observed that knockout of Zinc Antiviral Protein (ZAP) improved the performance of the screen due to ZAP-mediated inhibition of the vector. A small panel of IFN-induced HIV restriction factors, including MxB, IFITM1, Tetherin/BST2 and TRIM5alpha together explain the inhibitory effects of IFN on the CXCR4-tropic HIV-1 strain, HIV-1LAI, in THP-1 cells. A second screen with a CCR5-tropic primary strain, HIV-1Q23.BG505, described an overlapping, but non-identical, panel of restriction factors. Further, this screen also identifies HIV dependency factors. The ability of IFN-induced restriction factors to inhibit HIV strains to replicate in human cells suggests that these human restriction factors are incompletely antagonized. Editorial note: This article has been through an editorial process in which the authors decide how to respond to the issues raised during peer review. The Reviewing Editor's assessment is that all the issues have been addressed (see decision letter).
Full-text available
With the development of synthetic biology, synthetic gene circuits have shown great applied potential in medicine, biology, and as commodity chemicals. An ultimate challenge in the construction of gene circuits is the lack of effective, programmable, secure and sequence‐specific gene editing tools. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) system, a CRISPR‐associated RNA‐guided endonuclease Cas9 (CRISPR‐associated protein 9)‐targeted genome editing tool, has recently been applied in engineering gene circuits for its unique properties‐operability, high efficiency and programmability. The traditional single‐targeted therapy cannot effectively distinguish tumour cells from normal cells, and gene therapy for single targets has poor anti‐tumour effects, which severely limits the application of gene therapy. Currently, the design of gene circuits using tumour‐specific targets based on CRISPR/Cas systems provides a new way for precision cancer therapy. Hence, the application of intelligentized gene circuits based on CRISPR technology effectively guarantees the safety, efficiency and specificity of cancer therapy. Here, we assessed the use of synthetic gene circuits and if the CRISPR system could be used, especially artificial switch‐inducible Cas9, to more effectively target and treat tumour cells. Moreover, we also discussed recent advances, prospectives and underlying challenges in CRISPR‐based gene circuit development.
Full-text available
CRISPR/Cas9 is a technology evolved from modified type II immune system of bacteria and archaea. Exploitation of this bacterial immune system in all eukaryotes including plants may lead to site-specific targeted genome engineering. Genome engineering is objectively utilized to express/silence a trait harbouring gene in the plant genome. In this review, different genetic engineering techniques including classical breeding, RNAi and genetic transformation and synthetic sequence-specific nucleases (zinc finger nucleases; ZFNs and transcription activator-like effector nuclease; TALENs) techniques have been described and compared with advanced genome editing technique CRISPR/Cas9, on the basis of their merits and drawbacks. This revolutionary genome engineering technology has edge over all other approaches because of its simplicity, stability, specificity of the target and multiple genes can be engineered at a time. CRISPR/Cas9 requires only Cas9 endonuclease and single guide RNA, which are directly delivered into plant cells via either vector-mediated stable transformation or transient delivery of ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) and generate double-strand breaks (DSBs) at target site. These DSBs are further repaired by cell endogenous repairing pathways via HDR or NHEJ. The major advantage of CRISPR/Cas9 system is that engineered plants are considered Non-GM; can be achieved using in vitro expressed RNPs transient delivery. Different variants of Cas9 genes cloned in different plasmid vectors can be used to achieve different objectives of genome editing including double-stranded DNA break, single-stranded break, activate/repress the gene expression. Fusion of Cas9 with fluorescent protein can lead to visualize the expression of the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The applications of this technology in plant genome editing to improve different plant traits are comprehensively described.
Full-text available
The great and unresolved challenge of cancer immunotherapy is the possibility of severe, life threatening side effects. A new coordinated set of protocols creates a communication system between cancer cells and oncolytic viruses that avoids such immunotherapeutic side effects. A meta-protocol or method coordinates two protocols, a protocol for cancer network signal editing and a protocol for virus receptor editing. This meta-protocol integrates the two protocols to insure signal-receptor matching of cancer cell signals and virus receptors. Together coordinated protocols produce an engineered cooperative cell-to-virus communication system between designed oncolytic viruses and edited cancer cells. The result is that edited cancer cells emit unique "kill me!" signals to designed oncolytic virus receivers which then kill the cancer cells. Side effects are eliminated because the "kill me!" signal is unique to cancer cells and the designed oncolytic viruses have receptors that only react to this unique cancer signal while ignoring all other cells. The combination of the three protocols is called the Viral Black Widow Protocol (VBWP). It is a shotgun marriage between oncolytic viruses and cancer cells after which the oncolytic viruses destroy their partner cancer cells. Using cancer-CAD-CRISPR network editing, a gene activation link is inserted into the cancer network such that the cancer cell expresses a unique external signal recognized by the co-designed receptors of oncolytic viruses. The unique signal indicates the cell is a cancer cell. In coordination, oncolytic viruses are edited to only attack the cells that emit the unique cancer signal. Moreover, since the Viral Black Widow Protocol and the T-cell Black Widow Protocol(1) can be co-designed to respond to the same unique cancer signal, the two therapies can be used in combination. This synergy of viral and T-cell Black Widow protocols enables a powerful immunotherapy for cancer eradication.
Full-text available
One of the main problems with immunotherapy of cancer is the possibility of severe life threatening side effects. Under a new paradigm (the Cancer Network Paradigm) of how cancer works side effects can be avoided by two coordinated protocols that combine cancer network editing with T-cell network editing. A third meta-protocol integrates the two protocols. Together these protocols produce an engineered cooperative multi-cellular communication system between designed T-cells and edited cancer cells. The result is that edited cancer cells emit unique “kill me!” signals to obliging T-cells. Side effects are eliminated because the “kill me!” signal is unique to cancer cells and the designed T-cells only react to this one unique signal ignoring all other cells. The combination of the three protocols is called the Black Widow Immunotherapy Protocol (BWIP) or simply the Black Widow Protocol. The result of the coordinated protocols is a marriage between T-cells and cancer cells after which the T-cells destroy their partner cancer cells. Using cancer network editing, a gene activation link is inserted into the cancer network such that it produces a unique external signal to T-cells to indicate the cell is a cancer cell. In coordination, T-cells are edited to only attack the cells that emit the unique cancer signal. Black Widow coordinated cancer network immunotherapy forces cancer cells to emit unique signals that their co-engineered T-cells can recognize. Under this method transformed cancer cells cooperate with co-adapted T-cells to insure the cancer cells’ destruction. Unlike normal T-cell immunotherapy, there should be no side effects since co-engineered T-cells only kill co-edited cancer cells leaving all other cells alone. The Black Widow Protocol can be transformed to co-edited cancer cells and oncolytic viruses creating Viral Black Widow Protocols.
Full-text available
Immunotherapy has emerged as one of the most promising therapeutic strategies in cancer. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-associated protein 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) system, as an RNA-guided genome editing technology, is triggering a revolutionary change in cancer immunotherapy. With its versatility and ease of use, CRISPR-Cas9 can be implemented to fuel the production of therapeutic immune cells, such as construction of chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells and programmed cell death protein 1 knockout. Therefore, CRISPR-Cas9 technology holds great promise in cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we will introduce the origin, development and mechanism of CRISPR-Cas9. Also, we will focus on its various applications in cancer immunotherapy, especially CAR-T cell-based immunotherapy, and discuss the potential challenges it faces.
Full-text available
Genome editing technology(1-6) combined with Werner's network theory of cancer(7) opens up a new pathway to cure cancer by induced cancer cell suicide. We adapt the Cancer Cure Protocol(8-13) to design a different protocol that stops cancer by inserting into or modifying links in the cancer network that activate the cell death (apoptosis) pathway. The edit to stop cancer growth depends on the architecture of the cancer network. Different network link transformations have different effects depending on the cancer network link architecture. The ability to visualize the cancer network and simulate the dynamic effects of network edits in virtual space-time helps tremendously in understanding how the cancer cell is controlled and how to stop its proliferation. In cancer-CAD software, aspects of these edits can be automated with algorithms that suggest therapeutic network link edits automatically. The user can choose between various possible network edits by observing their effects on tumor growth in the simulation. Once an optimal network transformation is found, the edits can be synthesized and implemented in live cancer cells using CRISPR or analogous molecular genome editing technologies.
Recent developments in gene-editing technology have enabled scientists to manipulate the human genome in unprecedented ways. One technology in particular, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Pallindromic Repeat (CRISPR), has made gene editing more precise and cost-effective than ever before. Indeed, scientists have already shown that CRISPR can eliminate genes linked to life-threatening diseases from an individual's genetic makeup and, when used on human embryos, CRISPR has the potential to permanently eliminate hereditary diseases from the human genome in its entirety. These developments have brought great hope to individuals and their families, who suffer from genetically linked diseases. But there is a dark side: in the wrong hands, CRISPR could negatively impact the course of human evolution or be used to create biological weaponry. Despite these possible consequences, CRISPR remains largely unregulated due to the United States's outdated regulatory scheme for biotechnology. Moreover, human embryo research, which is likely critical to maximizing the therapeutic applications of CRISPR, is not easily undertaken by scientists due to a number of federal and state restrictions aimed at preventing such research. This Note examines the possible benefits and consequences of CRISPR and discusses the current regulations in both the fields of biotechnology and human embryo research that hamper the government's ability to effectively regulate this technology. Ultimately, this Note proposes a new regulatory scheme for biotechnology that focuses on the processes used to create products using CRISPR, rather than the products themselves, with a focus on enabling ethical research using human embryos to maximize the potential benefits of CRISPR.
Children under the age of five years old face significant mortality risks around the world. Public health innovations, particularly gene-editing technologies such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) could help to reduce the risk of death in children under the age of five years old. For example, CRISPR-based strategies could reduce infectious disease morbidity by gene editing mosquitoes to prevent transmission of malaria. CRISPR gene editing technology could also help to screen for influenza virus and prevent it from replicating; influenza is a particularly difficult to treat and severe virus causing many deaths in children. The lack of liver, kidney, and heart donations for children on the organ donation waiting list could also benefit from CRISPR. Gene editing of pigs to reduce rejection rates and associated risks of porcine endogenous retroviruses could allow for the utilization of pig organs for transplant. Here we review proposed applications of gene-editing technology in public health and discuss its potential to reduce child mortality and morbidity globally.