Researchers in China have made the headlines this month as they become the first ever to make changes to a human’s genetic code. To do this, they simply injected the patient with gene-edited cells using the CRISPR technique. This is the first time ever that CRISPR has been used in this way, and as controversial as it may be, it’s still a proud moment for China.
The patient received the treatment as part of a trial to try and treat lung cancer. The ten patients taking part in the trial have all been diagnosed with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer and have not responded to any standard treatment. They all also have a life expectancy of fewer than six months.
CRISPR is a great technique for gene editing that allows scientists to hone in on a single gene and repair it, amend it, or remove it. It’s something can be used in various areas ranging from agriculture to medicine, and this is just the beginning as far as China is concerned. The reason it hasn’t been used on any humans until now is purely down to ethics. But, Lu You and the team gained ethical approval to go ahead from West China Hospital’s review board.
China will continue to lead pave the way as far as CRISPR work is concerned, but the U.S. will soon be catching up as the first U.S. CRISPR trial is looking to be launched by the end of the year.