Trends in Cancer
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Tumor immunology CRISPR screening: present, past, and future

  • Matthew B. Dong
    Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    System Biology Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Immunobiology Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

    Department of Immunobiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

    M.D.–Ph.D. Program, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA
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  • Kaiyuan Tang
    Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    System Biology Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics, and Development Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
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  • Xiaoyu Zhou
    Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    System Biology Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA
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  • Jingjia J. Zhou
    Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    System Biology Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA
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  • Sidi Chen
    Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    System Biology Institute, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Immunobiology Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

    M.D.–Ph.D. Program, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA

    Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics, and Development Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

    Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

    Yale Center for Biomedical Data Science, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
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Published:December 14, 2021DOI:


      • Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) screens have recently been extensively utilized for cancer immunotherapy gene discovery.
      • Multiple types of CRISPR screen technologies, including CRISPRko, CRISPRa, and CRISPRi screens are available for different modes of gene identification.
      • CRISPR screens allow identification of targets in both cancer cells and immune cells, such as T cells.
      • In vivo CRISPR screens enable the discovery of genetic and cellular regulators in the tumor microenvironment.
      Recent advances in immunotherapy have fundamentally changed the landscape of cancer treatment by leveraging the specificity and selectivity of the adaptive immune system to kill cancer cells. These successes have ushered in a new wave of research aimed at understanding immune recognition with the hope of developing newer immunotherapies. The advent of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technologies and advancement of multiomics modalities have greatly accelerated the discovery process. Here, we review the current literature surrounding CRISPR screens within the context of tumor immunology, provide essential components needed to conduct immune-specific CRISPR screens, and present avenues for future research.
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