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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Chinese Researchers Testing Gene-editing Technique on Humans for First Time

A team of oncologists in Sichuan injected a patient with severe lung cancer with modified cells using the revolutionary CRISP tool to combat the disease.

A team led by Lu You oncologist at the University of Sichuan injected last modified on October 28 to a patient with aggressive lung cancer in order to fight the disease.

With this, China has become the first country to test the system clinically in human genomic CRISPR edition. This is a tool to edit and modify DNA sequences of cells with pinpoint accuracy and fast and simple way.

Through this kind of "molecular scissors" or CRISPR technique "edit" or "correct" the genome of any cell. And for this case, doctors hope to cut a gene that promotes the development of lung cancer.

According to the researchers explained it to Nature, for this case s and extracted white blood cells of the patient and the cells were modified using the CRISPR system, which allows researchers to change and replace parts of the genetic code.



In this case, the PD-1 protein, which prevents white blood cells from attacking other cells in the body is turned off. Just two weeks ago the patient received the first dose of modified cells so that these cells attack the cancer And help cure the disease.

Scientists' fear lies in the side effects of the treatment, because the modified cells can attack the healthy ones and not only the cancerous ones. However, Lu said that in this first phase he "went well" and the patient prepares for his second injection.

The team will now test the technique with nine others who also suffer from lung cancer and who, having undergone treatments like radiotherapy or chemotherapy, have not had improvement.


In fact, in March 2017, a team of Peking University plans to do similar tests to fight cancers of the bladder, prostate and kidney. Although these trials are still not approved and need funding.

This new group of patients will be able to receive two, three or even four injections. Scientists insist that this is a safety trial, in which participants will be monitored for six months to determine if injections are causing serious adverse effects.

With this advance China is positioned as the pioneer in rehearsing the technique and the United States already approved the same tests in humans. So this fact is an advance of a biomedical career between China and the United States.

As Carl June, a specialist in immuno-therapy at the University of Pennsylvania, the magazine said Nature "I think this will trigger a Sputnik 2.0, a biomedical duel between China and the United States,which is important because competition usually improves the final product" He assured.

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