In First, Scientists Use CRISPR for Personalized Cancer Treatment

The “most complicated therapy ever” tailors bespoke, genome-edited immune cells to attack tumors

A small clinical trial has shown that researchers can use CRISPR gene editing to alter immune cells so that they will recognize mutated proteins specific to a person’s tumours. Those cells can then be safely set loose in the body to find and destroy their target.

It is the first attempt to combine two hot areas in cancer research: gene editing to create personalized treatments, and engineering immune cells called T cells so as to better target tumours. The approach was tested in 16 people with solid tumours, including in the breast and colon.

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