Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), a gene editing tool has been given a green flag for its first trial in the specifics of Cancer cure. The red-hot tool would be used to engineer immune cells and create genetically altered cells to fight cancer.
A panel from Research DNA Advisory committee (RAC) at U.S. National Institutes of Health approved its first clinical trial.“It’s an important new approach. We’re going to learn a lot from this. And hopefully it will form the basis of new types of therapy,” said Georgetown University oncologist Dr. Michael Atkins, a member of the advisory panel.
Cancer Cure by DNA Editing – A Revolution is Progress
Gene editing has been used in treating diseases, even Cancer, in recent past but this CRISPR would raise the bar up as it is capable of modifying 3 genes simultaneously in a genome. This also means treating 3 different types of cancer. This is considered as a remarkable achievement in the world of scientific community.
Dr. Carl June, a pioneer of T cells which fight against Cancer, said: “Our preliminary data suggests that we could improve the efficacy of these T cells if we use CRISPR.” In the trial, T cells would be extracted from the patient’s body and a harmless virus would be genetically infused to give these cells a receptor for NY-ESO-1, a protein which is present on tumors. T cells after genetically engineered would be reinfused back and are expected to attack NY-ESO-1 displaying tumors. A team under Dr. June from University of Pennsylvania has already tested CRISPR a small clinical trial which was successful in the beginning but with time T cells started to lose their effectiveness.
The news has already reached to the ears of investors and billionaires such as Sean Parker. A funding of $250 million from Parker Institute of Cancer Immunotherapy will be provided by the tech entrepreneur.
Even though RAC approved the trial of CRISPR, researchers would still need approval from their own institutions and U.S Food and drug Administration. Editas Medicine, a biotech company proposed to conduct CRISPR’s first trial to be held in 2017. It would test CRISPR for its ability to treat a rare blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis. However, RAC is still reviewing this proposal.