A group of Chinese scientists will be performing the world’s first genetic editing trial on humans in August 2016. The trial will be done in an attempt to find a cure for lung cancer.
A team led by Dr. Lu You at Sichuan University’s West China Hospital in Chengdu received approval to carry out the trial from the hospital’s review board on 6 July 2016.
The world’s first genetic editing trial on humans will be based on CRISPR–Cas9 technique.
What is CRISPR?
• CRISPR technology lets scientists selectively edit genome parts and substitute them with novel DNA fragments.
• Cas9 is an enzyme that has the capacity to edit DNA.
• The genes undergo modification for the better via this procedure. A lot of cutting and pasting takes place at the genetic level through the technique.
• There will be 10 volunteers who will all be lung cancer patients.
• The CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing will last between two and three months. However, the trial still could go on for 365 days or more.
• T cells will be extracted from the blood of the patients. The gene that stored PD-1 protein will be deleted. The process normally limits the cells’ capacity to trigger an immune response.
• Now, the edited cells will be cultured in the lab after their reintroduction in the patients’ blood. This will start the immune response, which will kill the lung cancer tumours.
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