Developing Druggable CRISPR-Cas9 B​ased Therapies for Beta-Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia​​​

Principal Investigator: ​​​​Dr Afsar ​Mian, Assistant Professor​

​Co-PIs: Dr Hammad Hassan and Dr Salma Jahan

​Funding Source: Grand Challenge Fund of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, sponsored by the World Bank

​Duration: July 2021 - June 2024


This pre-clinical research aims to develop druggable gene-editing therapies for beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. Using CRISPR/Cas9, a molecular gene-editing tool, the researchers aspire to fix a mutation in the haemoglobin beta-globin (HBB) gene that causes both these disorders. This new therapy could be injected as a drug to all​ow the defective part of the HBB gene to be sniped and repaired, enabling the production of normal haemoglobin.​​

​The second therapy involves reactivating the production of foetal haemoglobin as a substitute for the deficient adult haemoglobin in beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. Dr Mian and his team will work on gene-silencing, using the same gene-editing tool and approach, suppressing the BCL11A gene that stops foetal haemoglobin from being produced.​

For this project, the research team at CRM is collaborating with researchers at:

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology​
  • Cardiff University in the UK​​​​

Team Members​​

  • Dr Fawad Ur Rahman​, Assistant Professor

  • Dr Irfan Hussain​, Assistant Professor​

  • Dr Muhammad Jameel, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Dr Ayaz Khan, Postdoctoral Fellow​

  • Dr Sobia Naz, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Zahra Sajid, Research Associate​​

  • Rena Zaman, Research Associate​​

  • Aafia Shahid, Research Associate​​​​