Gene editing Technology Current Affairs

First human genetic editing trial in China

Chinese scientists are going to perform the world’s first genetic editing trial on humans in an attempt to find a cure for lung cancer.

It will be performed as the trial phase by injecting cells that have been modified using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique into the patients.

Key Facts

  • In this trial, scientists will extract T cells, a type of immune cell, from the patient’s blood.
  • Then they will put the gene that encodes the PD-1 protein, which normally limits the cell’s capacity to launch an immune response.
  • The edited cells will be allowed to multiply in the lab before being reintroduced to the patients. This process will kick-start the T cells to launch an attack on the tumour cells.
  • This method is like building a cancer-fighting army outside the patient body. However the only concern is that T cells might also attack normal tissue.

What is CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique?

  • CRISPR short form of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It allows scientists to selectively edit genome parts and replace them with new DNA stretches.
  • Cas9 is an enzyme that can edit DNA, allowing the alteration of genetic patterns by genome modification. CRISPR is a collection of DNA sequences that direct Cas9 where to cut and paste.
  • CRISPR-Cas9 technology has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of blood diseases, tumours and other genetic diseases.