Science News

dna-1370603787LgYThis week we will not cover a moral issue, but if you would still like to read about moral issues from a conservative perspective, check out these links.

https://libertyandlogic.com/2016/06/30/stem-cells/ (Stem Cells)

https://libertyandlogic.com/2016/06/23/scientific-conservatism/ (Abortion)

“Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” is a long phrase that is packed with meaning. Before you click away, know that it’s not as complicated as you think. Referred to as CRISPR, this is a gene-editing technique that was first discovered in bacteria DNA. This technique, along with specific proteins, called “Cas” proteins,  allows scientists to edit certain regions of DNA in organisms. It is a very powerful, cheap, and effective technique that opens up a myriad of doors for both medicine and science, as it can be used for “gene therapy”.

This technique has been very successful and effective when scientists used it to edit other organisms’ genomes, but it has never been done on humans. However, later this year, CRISPR looks as though it will be used in its first ever trial on humans.

“On Tuesday, June 21, an advisory panel from the National Institute of Health (NIH) green-lighted a proposal to use the game-changing technique to tackle three different kinds of cancer. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), who are spearheading the small trial, hope to use the technique to edit genes in a patient’s own immune cells, reprogramming them to recognize and attack cancer at the first signs of growth.” (Shelly Fan, SingularityHUB)

This is monumental because prior to the CRISPR/Cas system, editing genomes was expensive and ineffective. Scientists can now cut or add sequences of genes into almost any organism. But the whole process in humans has not kicked off entirely. It still needs FDA and its ethics boards.

“In an eyebrow-raising twist, the trial is funded by former Facebook president Sean Parker. Earlier this year, Parker announced a $250 million foundation aimed at uniting immunotherapy researchers to ‘solve cancer.'” (Shelly Fan, SingularityHUB)

The researchers would deploy the technique of editing the genes of some of our immune cells, specifically our T-cells. When given this new set of genes, the T-cells would more effectively suppress certain types of cancer. In the end, this is very promising news that could change medicine, genetics, and science in general for the better.

Author: Joe Schmid

Questions? Ask away at josephschmid4@gmail.com

Works Cited

Fan, Shelly. “CRISPR Targets Cancer in First Human Trial – What You Need to Know.” Singularity HUB. Singularity Education Group, 26 June 2016. Web. 07 July 2016. <http://singularityhub.com/2016/06/26/75-crispr-targets-cancer-in-first-human-trial-what-you-need-to-know/&gt;.

“CRISPR.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRISPR&gt;.

Picture is labeled “free to use, share or modify, even commercially”. This is not our own picture, and the website does not endorse ours in any way. There were no changes made to the picture.”DNA” by “Виталий Смолыгин” URLs:

(http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=42718&picture=dna)

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