Science: Feng Zhang says many problems still have to be solved before the technology can be used to treat human diseases.
Sarah Zhang: What are the challenges you see to using crispr to treat human diseases?
Feng Zhang: The types of delivery systems we have are still really limited. For many of those diseases, we just don’t have the right delivery systems. Right now, we can get access to the blood cells, the eye, maybe the ear. But if we want to do something that’s body-wide, we don’t really have good ways to do that yet.
Viruses are nature’s way of delivering things into cells. That’s one approach, so we work on that, and explore other diverse viruses that people have not harnessed for delivery. We also look at things like exosomes, which are vesicles that cells release to be able to transmit information between cells.
Sarah Zhang: Also nature’s way.
Feng Zhang: Also nature’s way. And we also have collaborations to look at lipid nanoparticles, liposomes. I think we’ll have to take a broad approach to comprehensively figure it out. It’s very likely that different tissues will require different approaches.