Industry News: Five reasons to use ready-made knock-out cell lines

03 Jun 2021

CRISPR-Cas9 technology is increasingly being used to develop gene-edited cell lines in both research and the clinic. However, creating reliable, well-characterized lines can be an expensive and arduous process. We have highlighted five reasons to use ready-made knock-out cell lines to accelerate your discovery workflow and enable seamless transition from R&D through to manufacturing.

CRISPR technology is rapidly evolving and is increasingly being used in both research and the clinic. However, there are many challenges associated with using CRISPR, including both technical and time demands. Creating reliable gene-edited cell lines can be a laborious process, involving months of hands-on lab time that often results in little success. Current gene editing efficiencies are around 40% for knock-out models and just 5% for specific knock-ins. 

Low success rates can cause significant delays in the discovery pipeline, increasing the time and cost of getting the drug to market, which ultimately impacts the lives and health of the patients who need them. Ready-made gene-edited cell lines are powerful tools to accelerate the discovery workflow and provide a cost-effective solution for even the most challenging project. 

Here are five reasons to consider using ready-made gene-edited cell lines.

1.    Acceleration of the drug discovery pipeline

As there are no universal protocols or guidance for CRISPR cell line development, it can take a substantial amount of time to optimize each parameter for individual experiments. Ready-made knock-out cell lines remove the need for months of lab work, enabling you to focus on identifying targets and uncovering disease mechanisms to drive your program forward.

2.    Access to high-quality gene edits

Generation of high-quality edits relies on designing specific guide RNAs (gRNAs) and accurately predicting how the gRNAs will bind to sequences in the genome. At Abcam, we use our experience in over 1,300 cell line models and 200+ distinct lines to generate reliable, expertly engineered cell lines. We deliver our cell lines with Sanger sequence data, western blot validation, and a wild-type control, so you can quickly and confidently interrogate the relationship between genotype and phenotype. 

3.    Streamline reagent and target validation

Validation of reagents and therapeutic targets is essential to generating reliable, meaningful data to de-risk and streamline assay development. Ensuring assay specificity requires access to a suitable negative control, and while chemical inhibitors or RNA knock-downs reduce gene expression, these approaches can leave residual activity. Knock-out cell lines completely remove the gene of interest, creating a true negative control that helps you achieve clean signals with less noise. For example, wherever possible, we validate our antibodies using knock-out cell lines to ensure high specificity and reproducibility.

4.    Validation of lead compounds

Assessing the biological significance of lead compounds is a vital step in the discovery process. Using knock-out cell lines to disrupt specific genes in signaling pathways makes it possible to rapidly identify lead compound targets and their impact on disease mechanisms. Knock-out cell lines can also reveal unexpected off-target effects, avoiding unanticipated toxicities or side effects further down the pipeline.

5.    Cost-effective

Developing a gene-edited cell line can be a long and expensive process, involving an average of three to four repeats of the CRISPR workflow and often taking up to five months to generate a successful line. Overall, producing a reliable gene-edited cell line can cost around $8,000. Using ready-made gene-edited cell lines is a cost-effective solution and reduces unnecessary delays to the discovery workflow.

Ready-made gene-edited cell lines are powerful tools to accelerate the drug discovery workflow. Choose your specific edit from Abcam’s portfolio of over 2,000 ready-made lines, or tell us about your required edit to create a custom line.

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