Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation (IPOEF) announced that its 44th Inventor of the Year Award will go to the inventors of the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology.
CRISPR — Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats — allows scientists to identify diseased or mutated gene sequences in the human genome and remove and replace them with healthy genes.
It is believed that the technology could eventually help eliminate certain diseases such as Sickle Cell Anemia.
CRISPR is “the hallmark of a bacterial defense system that forms the basis for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology,” according to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, from which one of the winning teams of CRISPR inventors hails.
“CRISPR ‘spacer’ sequences are transcribed into short RNA sequences … capable of guiding the system to matching sequences of DNA.
“When the target DNA is found, Cas9 — one of the enzymes produced by the CRISPR system — binds to the DNA and cuts it, shutting the targeted gene off.”
IPOEF said it will honor inventor teams from the University of California, Berkeley and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with the Inventor of the Year award in recognition of their commitment to innovation and the positive impact it will have on society.
IPOEF executive director Mark Lauroesch said: “We are proud to give this year’s award to the scientific teams behind this groundbreaking technology.
“CRISPR-Cas9 has already inspired a number of follow on inventions.
“We are excited to see the positive impact this technology will have in the future.”
The Inventor of the Year Award is one of several programs of Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation, a non-profit subsidiary of Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), for educating the public on the importance of intellectual property rights.