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Scientists are setting new standards in the use of gene editing tools




(News)

Scientists report the first use of the gene editing tool CRISPR to try to cure a patient's HIV infection by providing blood cells that have been modified to withstand the AIDS virus. The gene-editing tool has long been used in research laboratories, and a Chinese scientist was despised last year when he found out that he used it in embryos that gave birth to twin girls. Editing embryos is considered too risky, also because the DNA changes can be transferred to future generations. The Wednesday's report in the New England Journal of Medicine (1

9459006) by various Chinese researchers (19459007) is the first published report on the use of CRISPR for the treatment of adult disease in which DNA alterations are restricted to this individual. The attempt was in some ways successful, but could not cure, according to AP.

Nonetheless, it shows that gene processing is promising and appears to be precise and safe in this patient, Dr. Carl June, a geneticist from the University of Pennsylvania, who wrote a comment in the journal. "That's really good for the field," June said. The research was conducted open with advance notice of a scientific registry and standard procedures with informed consent. Some of these steps were missing or were questioned in last year's embryo work. Editing genes permanently changes the DNA. CRISPR is a relatively new tool that allows scientists to cut DNA at a specific location. A gratifying result: several tests show that the processing had no unintended effects on other genes. "They did a very innovative experiment on a patient, and it was safe," said an expert on Johns Hopkins' Live Science.

(Read more CRISPR articles.)

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