Articles, announcements and insights from Horizon Discovery

Building complex human cell models for oncology research

Oct 10, 2016 12:20:51 PM No Comments


Chromosome abnormalities are a characteristic feature of cancer cells. Translocations are large chromosome rearrangements which are key drivers of tumorigenesis and found in various tumour typesGene fusions result from balanced chromosome translocations and frequently lead to activation and overexpression of an oncogene. The nature of gene fusions strongly correlates with the tumour type, making them very attractive targets for cancer diagnostic or therapeutic intervention. 

Chromosomal translocations are triggered in vivo by the simultaneous occurrence of double strand breaks. The scientists at Horizon Discovery have recently published a new robust and precise approach to generating translocations. This advancement facilitates the generation of relevant cell line models for oncology research.  


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2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Autophagy Pioneer: Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi

Oct 10, 2016 10:42:14 AM No Comments

Recycling has always been a smart idea, and nature has its own processes to ensure that waste is kept to a minimum.  As Professor Ohsumi discovered, autophagy is the cells way of degrading and recycling cellular components, allowing it to adapt to nutritional deficiency or other environmental influences. Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, honorary professor and leader of the Cell Biology Unit at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has been studying autophagy for 27 years. This year's Nobel Laureate discovered and elucidated mechanisms underlying autophagy, according to the Press Release from The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet.

Read More Cell lines

Horizon G-Nomes ‘Stick Their Oar In’ at the Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival 2016

Sep 13, 2016 10:19:51 AM No Comments

On Saturday 10th September 2016, a team of intrepid volunteers defied the rain and blustery weather to compete in the Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival 2016 in aid of ACT (Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust). Proudly representing Horizon Discovery, in their branded t-shirts, were our 11 person team who, unlike several of the more experienced teams, gave an excellent account of themselves in the inclement conditions and managed to stay afloat throughout.

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Dr Darrin Disley receiving a Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion

Sep 6, 2016 11:20:50 AM No Comments

On 5th September at our offices in Cambridge, Lord-Lieutenant, Sir Hugh Duberly KCVO, CBE presented Dr Darrin Disley, CEO of Horizon Discovery, with a Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Darrin was nominated for the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion by Linda Allan. Her Majesty The Queen approved the Prime Minister's recommendation that Darrin should receive the Award.

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Patient in a petri dish: Finding the right cell line to evaluate specific gene function in disease research

Aug 15, 2016 2:56:01 PM No Comments

Which Cell line models to use?

Sourcing biological materials that will acurately represent disease biology can be a time consuming and frustrating proceedure. Here we discuss:

  • the options available
  • and the merits and disavantages of each
  • how gene editing technology can provide bespoke cell models of disease
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Should I be worried about CRISPR off-target effects?

Jun 17, 2016 11:06:42 AM No Comments

Increasingly the literature suggests that CRISPR's potential for off-target effects is not as “bad” as originally thought. Here are a few things to set your mind at ease if you’re working with the CRISPR-Cas9 system:

Read More Gene editing, CRISPR

Five tips for guide RNA design

Jun 15, 2016 4:24:37 PM No Comments

Early on in our CRISPR use at Horizon, we learned that that when it comes to guide RNA design not all sgRNAs are created equal. In fact what makes a good guide is still the topic of a great deal of research in the field – and aside of the consensus that a guide with a guanine at position -1 is more likely to have a higher activity, we are still a way from being 100% confident in predicting in silico guide activity in vitro/vivo.

Read More Gene editing

Optimization of CRISPR Delivery in Cultured Cells & Single Cell Embryos

Jun 13, 2016 11:22:03 AM No Comments

The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been rapidly adapted to practically every model system for its ease to generate and high efficiencies to cleave target DNA. But unlike our experience with Zinc Finger Nucleases, in the human, rat and mouse cell lines we tried successful co-transfection of Cas9 mRNA and sgRNA was cell-line dependent, and often resulted in either very low or no cleavage activities.

However, sequential transfection of cells with Cas9 DNA first, and sgRNA followed 24 hrs later, reliably produced good level of activity, indicating the requirement of Cas9 presence at the time of introduction of sgRNA. Not surprisingly, creation of a cell line stably expressing Cas9 led to consistently high cleavage activities upon transfection of sgRNAs. Transfection of recombinant Cas9 protein pre-complexed with sgRNA (ribonucleoprotein particles, or RNPs) led to efficient cleavage as well.

On the other hand, when Cas9 mRNA and sgRNAs are co-microinjected into single cell embryos, it produces target cleavage as efficiently as RNPs to produce straight KOs and large deletions between two target sites, again raising a question of local concentrations of Cas9 protein and sgRNA.

Below we summarize some of the work we've done optimizing delivery of CRISPR-Cas9, which which can be read in full publication form in Human Gene Therapy here.

Read More Cell lines, Gene editing, Microinjection

Frequently Asked Questions For HAP1 Knockout Cell Lines

Jun 10, 2016 2:29:00 PM No Comments
Here you'll find a complete list of all our most frequently asked questions relating to HAP1 knockout cell lines. If you want to know how they're generated, how they're validated or how to find out if they're right for you - this is a great place to start.
Read More Cell lines

Frequently asked questions for X-MAN Cell Lines

Jun 10, 2016 2:27:59 PM No Comments

Here you'll find a complete list of our most frequently asked questions relating to X-MAN cell lines. How are they made, how are they validated, and how can you use them? Read on to find out.

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