A variety of genetic cardiovascular diseases may one day be curable using gene editing technology. Germline genome editing and correction promises to permanently remove monogenic cardiovascular disorders from the offspring and subsequent generations of affected families. Although technically feasible and likely to be ready for implementation in humans in the near future, this approach remains ethically controversial. Although currently beset by several technical challenges, and not yet past small animal models, somatic genome editing may also be useful for a variety of cardiovascular disorders. It potentially avoids ethical concerns about permanent editing of the germline and allows treatment of already diseased individuals. If technical challenges of Cas9-gRNA delivery (viral vector immune response, nonviral vector delivery) can be worked out, then CRISPR-Cas9 may have a significant place in the treatment of a wide variety of disorders in which partial or complete gene knockout is desired. However, CRISPR may not work for gene correction in the human heart because of low rates of homology directed repair. Off-target effects also remain a concern, although, thus far, small animal studies have been reassuring. Some of the therapies mentioned in this review may be ready for small clinical trials in the near future.
- gene editing
- germline gene correction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine