Dec 5, 2019

HIV-positive babies could benefit from treatment days after birth

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Report: Huge oversights in Chinese scientist's gene-edited babies attempt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Visuals

MIT Technology Review released excerpts of Chinese scientist He Jiankui's unpublished research on Tuesday, underscoring massive ethical and practical oversights in his claim that he successfully used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to create genetically engineered children.

The bottom line: A primary goal of the experiment was to test if cells could be gene-edited to become HIV resistant. This could have been done without creating human test subjects, MIT notes.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

CRISPR-based gene editing treatments benefit patients with blood disorders

A researcher observes a CRISPR/Cas9 process through a stereomicroscope. Photo: Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

The first two patients to receive CRISPR-based treatments for their blood disorders benefited from the therapy, the two companies developing the treatment announced yesterday — a sign that gene editing may be a safe and effective way to cure blood diseases, STAT reports.

Why it matters: The two blood disorders, sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia, can have a drastic impact on patients' lives. A cure would be transformative.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

China is racing into CAR-T development

A lab technician prepares to thawing blood bag before genetically modifying a patients immune cells. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

China's aggressive focus on prescription drugs includes developing its own version of CAR-T, one of the most ambitious therapies on the market, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Chinese scientists are attempting to develop CAR-T therapies — which genetically engineer a patient's own immune cells to destroy cancer cells — much faster and with a much cheaper price tag than those in the U.S.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019