The treatment of the HIV-positive man in China fell short of eliminating the disease, but the fact that he is well after 19 months supports ideas that gene-editing seems safe and holds promise, according to the report in the New England Journal Of Medicine. “It’s not a home run at this point, but getting to first base is really critical for this technology,” says Carl June , a professor in immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press: A Gene-Editing First: Scientists Tried CRISPR To Fight HIV
Scientists are reporting the first use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR to try to cure a patient’s HIV infection by providing blood cells that were altered to resist the AIDS virus. The gene-editing tool has long been used in research labs, and a Chinese scientist was scorned last year when he revealed he used it on embryos that led to the birth of twin girls. Editing embryos is considered too risky, partly because the DNA changes can pass to future generations. (9/11)
NPR: CRISPR Gene-Editing Shows Promise As HIV Cure, Research Shows
While the treatment did not rid the man of the AIDS virus, the researchers and others are calling the report promising. That’s because it indicates that so far the gene-editing technique seems to safely and effectively make the precise DNA change intended. “It is a first step,” says Hongkui Deng, a professor of cell biology at the Peking University, who helped lead the research. The case was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “It is promising.” (Stein, 9/11)
Stat: In A CRISPR First, Therapy Aiming To Cure HIV Patient Appears Safe
“They attempted a moonshot, and while they did not land on the moon, they got back home safely,” said Fyodor Urnov of the Innovative Genomics Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, who previously helped lead a study for Sangamo Therapeutics (SGMO) of whether an older genetic technology, zinc fingers, could cure HIV/AIDS. Crucially, Urnov said of the Chinese study, “they highlighted how to get to the moon.” (Begley, 9/11)
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