Artificial Intelligence: AI-Powered ZFDesign Enables Gene Therapy By Manipulation Of Zinc Fingers

January 27, 2023 | Artificial Intelligence, News

The tool has been developed by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the University of Toronto.

An AI program, dubbed ZFDesign, has been developed by researchers at NYU and the University of Toronto that allows for the simple production of customizable zinc finger proteins to treat diseases by turning genes on and off.

The tool promises to speed up the development of gene therapies on a large scale, and can be used to treat illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell anemia by editing errors in the order of DNA letters. (NEWS-Medical)

The technology, called ZFDesign, uses AI to model and design interactions between zinc fingers and DNA, overcoming the obstacle of designing artificial zinc fingers for specific tasks.

The model is based on data generated by the screen of nearly 50 billion possible zinc finger-DNA interactions in the researchers’ labs.

A report on the tool was published on January 26 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

“Our program can identify the right grouping of zinc fingers for any modification, making this type of gene editing faster than ever before,” said David Ichikawa, PhD, study lead author, former graduate student at NYU Langone Health.

“By speeding up zinc-finger design coupled with their smaller size, our system paves the way for using these proteins to control multiple genes at the same time,” says study senior author Marcus Noyes, PhD. “In the future, this approach may help correct diseases that have multiple genetic causes, such as heart disease, obesity, and many cases of autism.”

Related Story: Atomic AI Closes $35M Series ‘A’ For RNA Drug Discovery

Image Credit: Wikimedia

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