Advances in genome editing: the technology of choice for precise and efficient β-thalassemia treatment.
Beta (β)-thalassemia is one of the most significant hemoglobinopathy worldwide. The high prevalence of the β-thalassemia carriers aggravates the disease burden for patients and national economies in the developing world. The survival of β-thalassemia patients solely relies on repeated transfusions, which eventually results into multi-organ damage. The fetal γ-globin genes are ordinarily silenced at birth and replaced by the adult β-globin genes. However, mutations that cause lifelong persistence of fetal γ-globin, ameliorate the debilitating effects of β-globin mutations. Therefore, therapeutically reactivating the fetal γ-globin gene is a prime focus of researchers. CRISPR/Cas9 is the most common approach to correct disease causative mutations or to enhance or disrupt the expression of proteins to mitigate the effects of the disease. CRISPR/cas9 and prime gene editing to correct mutations in hematopoietic stem cells of β-thalassemia patients has been considered a novel therapeutic approach for effective hemoglobin production. However, genome-editing technologies, along with all advantages, have shown some disadvantages due to either random insertions or deletions at the target site of edition or non-specific targeting in genome. Therefore, the focus of this review is to compare pros and cons of these editing technologies and to elaborate the retrospective scope of gene therapy for β-thalassemia patients.