Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

T-cells with green fluorescent label. Photo: Alex Marson Lab

Some of the most promising cancer therapies alter the DNA of T-cells so they will attack cancerous cells. Scientists announced earlier this week in Nature that they developed an alternative process that doesn't use viruses to accomplish this and could lead to safer, more precise treatments for cancer and other diseases.

"This could be a faster, cheaper, better way of making the next generation of cell therapies."
— Alexander Marson, study author, UCSF associate professor of microbiology and immunology

Background: Gene therapy aims to reprogram genes in the immune system's T-cells that can play a role in both causing and fighting diseases. Traditional methods use viral vectors (viruses stripped of their infectious parts) to take the edited DNA across the cell membrane for gene therapy or cancer immunotherapy (such as creating CAR-T cells, which were first approved last August).

  • However, study author Theo Roth says it takes considerable time and resources to make clinical-grade viruses and issues caused by the sometimes imprecise insertion of edited genes can cause serious side effects. On top of that, there is a backlog in developing those viral vectors.
"We wanted to see if we could insert new instructions into T-cells but without the need for a viral vector."
— Theo Roth, UCSF student pursuing MD and PhD degrees, who led the studies

What they found: The researchers were able to briefly shock cells with electricity (called electroporation) to make the cell membranes more permeable to DNA edited with CRISPR-Cas9, Roth says.

Another benefit is that while viral vectors may take up to a year to build, the new method may only take a couple weeks. And, the method seems to allow longer strands of edited DNA to be inserted with more precision, which opens up the possibility of using CRISPR technology to treat diseases that require longer edited strands.

Validating the findings: The research team demonstrated the method in two settings: one checked the ability to rapidly correct an inherited genetic alteration in T-cells, and the other replaced the T-cell receptor so it recognized cancer cells.

The concerns: Gene editing is touted as having great potential, but some recent studies have demonstrated it could cause more harm than good. While this new method could "potentially improve safety," the study states, more testing needs to be done.

  • “There will have to be discussions with regulatory agencies,” another study author Kevan Herold, endocrinologist and immunologist at Yale University, told the Washington Post. “All of us are aware of the potential pitfalls here” and researchers need to answer a “critical first question: Are these cells safe to be put back into people?”

What's next: Marson tells Axios they are close to going through the regulatory process to test the method in human trials. He says they believe the method could be used for infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and a variety of cancers.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.

2 hours ago - Health

Moderna says COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in kids

Photo: Martin Galindo/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Moderna on Monday released trial results for its coronavirus vaccine for children aged 6 to 11, saying it provides a "robust" immune response after two doses.

Why it matters: Moderna said it will officially submit the results to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization in "the near term," meaning we could soon see two coronavirus vaccines available to protect approximately 28 million more kids in the U.S.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!