Masonic Cancer Center Member Branden Moriarity Receives U24 Grant with Recombinetics, Inc

January 18, 2019
Branden Moriarity, PhD

Funding allows further testing of genome editing technologies

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- January 18, 2019 - University of Minnesota researchers embark on work which could lead to a cure for some genetic diseases, such as cancer. Thanks to a U24 grant, part of the NIH Common Fund’s Somatic Cell Gene Editing (SCGE) consortium, Branden Moriarity, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Masonic Cancer Center member, will begin to test genome editing technologies.

Genome editing technologies make changes to DNA code. These technologies could allow researchers to correct genes inside a patient’s cells. This could potentially cure genetic diseases such as cancer. However, research must be done to determine if genome editing technologies are safe for humans.

Moriarity received the award with Dan Carlson, PhD, Senior Vice President of Research and Development of Recombinetics. Moriarity is a sub-award on the grant and will develop and validate molecular reporters activated by CRISPR/Cas9 base editing. The period of the grant is four years with $4 million dollars in funding.

“The results of our work will be critical to the preclinical testing of in vivo gene editing prior to use in humans, especially related to therapies utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 base editor technology,” said Moriarity. “It is also very exciting to be part of the Somatic Cell Gene Editing (SCGE) consortium, allowing us to collaborate with many leaders in the field of gene editing from numerous institutes across the country.”

Drs. Moriarity and Carlson’s project will create swine models to test genome editing technologies. The animal models and data from the study will be provided to SCGE consortium for distribution. The human-sized models will drive innovation for in vivo gene therapies based on gene editing.

The SCGE program was developed by the NIH to create further progress in somatic genome editing. The program aims to develop quality tools to perform effective and safe genome editing in human patients. 

About the University of Minnesota Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School is a world-class leader in medical education, research, and patient care. We have a decades-long foundation of educational excellence training the next generation of healthcare professionals. Our mission is to provide innovative training, research that advances medicine and clinical care that improves the lives of our patients. For more, please visit med.umn.edu.

About the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota
The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota is the Twin Cities’ own Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated ‘Outstanding’ by the National Cancer Institute. For more than 25 years, researchers, educators, and care providers have worked to discover the causes prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and cancer-related diseases. Learn more atcancer.umn.edu.