CRISPR against tumors, the genetic editing tool first used in the USA


At the University of Pennsylvania, the CRISPR genetic editing method was used to alter the T lymphocytes of some patients to attack the cancer cells.

Genetic editing against tumors? This is what some researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are experimenting with, who have used the CRISPR genetic editing tool for change of blood cells of some patients, specifically T lymphocytes, so they can attack the cancerous cells. A university spokesman has already confirmed that two patients have been treated, one with sarcoma and the other with multiple myeloma.

The technique developed involves the use of the patient's own cells, removed from its blood, modified and reintroduced into the body. In particular, scientists, through CRISPR, have added a gene that allows T cells to attack cancer cells, but they also eliminated another gene, called PD-1, which normally acts as a brake on immune defenses.

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The idea came from the fact that the use of immunotherapeutic drugs that inhibit PD-1 proved to be tremendously effective in treating some types of cancer. The researchers, therefore, simply thought of improving their action by acting directly on the DNA level of the T lymphocytes.

CRISPR is being tested in various medical contexts. In Europe, for example, this year a patient was treated with the genetic editing tool in an attempt to treat beta-thalassemia, the most serious form of an inherited blood disorder, which involves anemia.

The earliest pioneering studies for the use of CRISPR in the treatment of tumors and other genetic diseases date back to 2016, but the departure was very slow, especially in the West, while in China, for example, the research is at a much more advanced stage, both that Carl June, the famous oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania, defined the Chinese leadership in using CRISPR as the Sputnik genetics.


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