A U.S. federal biosafety and ethics committee has unanimously approved the world's first human study on the powers of the genome-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9, according to media reports. The study, proposed by University of Pennsylvania researchers, aims to use CRISPR to create genetically-altered immune cells to attack cancer.
David Albert, MD, former chief clinical scientist at GE Healthcare and and presently founder and chief medical officer at smartphone-based electrocardiogram device maker AliveCor, believes the new CRISPR technology could be transformative when it comes to editing out harmful genetic defects.
"CRISPR presents the opportunity to repair specific genetic defects, which could be revolutionary," Albert says.
Efforts to develop immune-related cancer therapies are getting a boost through the $250 million Sean Parker (of Napster and Facebook fame) is providing for his Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which includes UCSF, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford Medicine, UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. There is also Vice President Joe Biden's National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
[DNA image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay.]