Crispr technology has been around for several years. Essentially, Crispr is a “cut-and-paste” tool used in gene editing – especially useful when scientists have pinpointed specific disease-causing genes.
Fast forward to a very small study (3 people) released this week from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford research teams that has cleared the first hurdle related to safety.
These cancer patients received their own genetically modified T cells – to make them more powerful hunters and killers of cancer cells. The T-cells were bathed in a special growing solution until they had increased to about a 100 million at which time they were infused back into the patient. The biggest concern was that once these cells were released back into the body, would they be too hyper-active, that is, trigger a massive deadly immune response. Instead, these gene edited immune cells lived and appeared to fit right back into the body’s immune system.
Results have been mixed: of the three patients, one woman with multiple myeloma died seven months after receiving the treatment and the other two, another with multiple myeloma and a man with sarcoma, have had their cancers return. A few other trials are getting underway. Overall, this promises to be an invaluable tool perhaps used in conjunction with other therapies.
To read more about this particular research, follow this link.
To read more about Crispr technology, read this article.