Sep 12, 2019

CRISPR gene editing used to treat patient with cancer and HIV

A bouncing DNA strand

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Chinese researchers used CRISPR technology to safely treat a man with cancer and HIV, Bloomberg reports, a major step forward for the gene editing field.

Why it matters: "The man's medical case, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first detailed report in a major academic journal of how doctors are using the experimental tool [CRISPR] to manipulate the DNA of a living patient in an effort to cure disease," Bloomberg writes.

  • The patient's treatment had mixed results: His cancer in remission and the modified cells integrated into his body, but his HIV wasn't cured.

Flashback: Last year, a different Chinese scientist used the technology to create the first gene-edited babies, sparking massive global backlash. Even before that, there were plenty of questions about how CRISPR should be used.

Go deeper: The ethical red flags of genetically edited babies

Go deeper