China Races Ahead in Human Gene-Editing Trials
Even though the U.S. are the closest they’ve ever been to using the gene-editing tool CRISPR in human trials, Dr. Wu and others in China are already way ahead.
Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania revealed last week that they will use CRISPR to modify human immune cells so that they become expert cancer killers. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, CRISPR gene-editing has been used in hospitals in China to treat cancer since 2015. The new report says that at least 86 people have had their genes edited.
This is very exciting news, but there are safety concerns—last year, it got known that the technology could introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome, and only a couple of weeks ago, a paper was published saying the technique could trigger immune responses with potentially serious implications for the use of CRISPR therapies.
What the U.S. does have though, is biohackers modifying their own genomes with CRISPR. On the clinical trials, it’s probably a good idea to stick it out and wait. Better to be safe than sorry, right?