Human gene processing comes to America: two American cancer patients treated with controversial CRISPR technology
- CRISPR gene processing has been praised as a breakthrough that can eradicate diseases
- Various American investigations into human technology are ongoing
- The University of Pennsylvania told NPR that they edited the genes of their first two adult human patients to treat sarcoma and myeloma
Two human patients have had their genes processed in one of the different clinical trials with CRISPR that are now being conducted in the US.
The University of Pennsylvania uses the groundbreaking – and sometimes controversial – technology to treat myeloma patients.
A university spokesperson confirmed that two patients there were treated in an email to NPR.
University of Pennsylvania's (U Penn) lawsuit comes just months after Chinese scientists evoked international wonder and anger when they announced that twin brothers whose genes had been processed in the womb were born.
But the U Penn study (like about 25 others in the US and more abroad) only deals with mutations in adult patients, albeit step-by-step ethical concerns about changing the hereditary human genome that emerged after the Chinese experiment .
The University of Pennsylvania told NPR that the first two cancer patients were treated using the CRISPR technology to process genes in its groundbreaking trial
The invention of CRISPR was a turning point for the medical community.
Instead of trying to solve problems that arise from genome errors, the gene processing tool can allow scientists to repair the DNA themselves.
There are 26 clinical trials with CRISPR registered with the FDA.
Several of them want to use the gene processing function to remove DNA sections that cause cancer cells to multiply unchecked and replace them with healthy genes.
U Penn uses CRISPR to treat different types of cancer – including melanoma, sarcomas and multiple myeloma – in patients for whom other treatments have failed.
So far, only two of the eighteen people participating in the clinical trajectory have received the most advanced treatment.
One person has myeloma, while the other is fighting the sarcoma.
They were both treated with better established therapies, but had since had a recurrence, NPR reported.
The U Penn study is a kind of fusion of two of the moth-revealing scientific developments of the past decade: CRISPR and immunotherapy.
After extracting immune cells from the test subjects, the scientists use CRISPR to modify these cells.
Instead of using a virus to strengthen the immune system, CRISPR changes the DNA of these cells to make them naturally born cancer smugglers.
The cells are then injected back into the patients.
It is too early to say if and how well the treatment works and the study was not completed before 2033.
Meanwhile, researchers in the US and Broad are also starting clinical trials to use CRISPR to treat genetic blood disorders, including sickle cell anemia, a form of blindness, and other cancers.