Researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) have determined a new way to deliver DNA editing tools so that the presence of their proteins in cells is reduced, in what they have called a “hit and run” approach.

CRISPR-Cas9, while being a revolutionary technology which has made gene editing swifter and simpler, is known for its lack of accuracy and potential to cut in unexpected genetic locations, causing unwanted results including tumours or mutations.

The WFIRM scientists looked at various alternative strategies for delivering Cas9 technology, before taking the properties of two widely-used delivery vehicles, lentivirus vector and nanoparticles, and combining them. This new system places the Cas9 mRNA into lentivirus-like bionanoparticles, meaning that they can only express themselves briefly and edit efficiently and accurately.