β-thalassemia results from point mutations or small deletions in the β-globin (HBB) gene that ultimately cause anemia. The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from the somatic cells of patients in combination with subsequent homologous recombination-based gene correction provides new approaches to cure this disease. CRISPR/Cas9 is a genome editing tool that is creating a buzz in the scientific community for treating human diseases, especially genetic disorders. Here, we reported that correction of β-thalassemia mutations in patient-specific iPSCs using the CRISPR/Cas9 tool promotes hematopoietic differentiation in vivo. CRISPR/Cas9-corrected iPSC-derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) were injected into sublethally-irradiated NOD-scid-IL2Rg-/- (NSI) mice. HBB expression was observed in these HSCs after hematopoietic differentiation in the NSI mice. Importantly, no tumor was found in the livers, lungs, kidneys, or bone marrow at 10 weeks in the NSI mice after implantation with these HSCs. Collectively, our findings demonstrated that CRISPR/Cas9 successfully corrects β-thalassemia mutations in patient-specific iPSCs. These CRISPR/Cas9-corrected iPSC-derived HSCs express normal HBB in mice without tumorigenic potential, suggesting a safe strategy for personalized treatment of β-thalassemia.
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