CRISPR, a new technique for editing DNA, is being tested in clinical trials for the first time in the U.S., NPR reported on Tuesday.
After a few studies based in China on using the gene-editing technology to treat disease, two American cancer patients are being treated with CRISPR for their cancer. The patients, being treated as part of a study at the University of Pennsylvania, had both "relapsed after undergoing standard treatment." One patient was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that affects plasma cells in the blood; the other was diagnosed with sarcoma, a tumor that affects connective tissue in the body.
In addition to the University of Pennsylvania trial, several other studies have also been approved in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, in order to test the efficiency of the CRISPR method in treating various diseases.
Many scientists are hopeful that this will mark a new era in disease treatment: "2019 is the year when the training wheels come off," and we will better understand "what CRISPR can really do for the world," said Fyodor Urnov, a gene-editing scientist. Read more about CRISPR at NPR. Shivani Ishwar