CRISPR, genetic engineering, ethics
On November 15th, the scientific world was taken by storm when Chinese researchers announced that the gene editing technique, CRISPR, was being used for the first time in a clinical trial.i CRISPR, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, allows scientists to target specific genes for knockout, or even for replacement by other genes. The technique has showed promising results in both in vitro and animal models, and researchers foresee myriad medical uses for it. The aforementioned Chinese study involves genetically engineering T-cells to make them better able to fight cancer. Another CRISPR study involving reprogramming T-cells was approved by US ethics panels on June 21.ii In what is clearly shaping up to be a biomedical “race to the cure”, scientists are eager to determine whether CRISPR is a safe, effective means of treating cancer. If this proves to be the case, CRISPR could soon be used to wage war on genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, or perhaps even autoimmune diseases such as Type I diabetes or multiple sclerosis.
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Kuruvilla, Heather G.
"CRISPR: Race to the Cure,"
Bioethics in Faith and Practice: Vol. 2
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/bioethics_in_faith_and_practice/vol2/iss1/3
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