A team of scientists in China has become the first to treat a human patient with the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique. While the results of the trial are uncertain, it’s a historic milestone that should serve as a serious wakeup call to the rest of the world.
A research team led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University delivered modified immune cells into a patient suffering from an aggressive form of lung cancer. The scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 to make the cells more resilient in the presence of cancer, marking the first time that the powerful gene-editing tool was used to treat a human.
The study was limited to one patient in order to test the safety of CRISPR. Given the encouraging results, another 10 patients will be treated as part of an ongoing clinical trial being conducted at the West China Hospital in Chengdu.