Gene Editing Moves Closer With A Successful Edit Of Human T Cells

Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell. Credit:  NIAID

Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell. Credit: NIAID

The CRISPR/Cas9 system wasn't the first genome editing/regulating technique, but it allows unparalleled precision in both editing and insertion of sequences into a target genome. The accuracy and it's relative ease and cost are producing a boom in gene editing research and the technique looks on track to revolutionise our world. Being able to precisely and relatively easily edit and replace any genes we desire may sound fantastical, but it could soon be a reality; a game changing jump in technology.  

In a step that brings CRISPR closer to the clinic, a strategy for accurate modification of human T Cells ( a type of lymphocyte cell in the immune system) has been developed that could be applied to HIV, cancer, autoimmune conditions and more. Researchers were able to deactivate a specific receptor protein that HIV can use as a doorway to enter T Cells. Deactivation also seems to drive T Cells to attack tumours.

"There's actually well-trodden ground putting modified T cells into patients. There are companies out there already doing it and figuring out the safety profile, so there's increasing clinical infrastructure that we could potentially piggyback on as we work out more details of genome editing," Dr. Marson noted. "I think CRISPR-edited T cells will eventually go into patients, and it would be wrong not to think about the steps we need to take to get there safely and effectively."


Read more at Genetic Engineering News