Cancer is one of the leading killers of the human race. Despite billions of dollars and countless hours of the best and brightest scientists lives are spent trying to cure this wretched disease, no method has yet proved 100% successful. They only methods we have come up with to combat this disease is to either try and hack out the tumors or to poison the person to the point where not only cancer cells die, but also healthy ones; and even them some cases are labeled too far gone. However with new technology comes new hope.
Chinese scientists are now about to start clinical trials to combat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, with their new gene altering technique. The idea of extracting cells from a person, genetically altering them and then putting them back into a person is commonly referred to as gene therapy and is experimental no matter what the treatment is used for. This gene therapy involves altering T-cells with CRISPR-Cas 9 technology and resultingly changing the gene to only attack cancerous cells, protecting the healthy ones. Like any treatment their are risks, and they are even higher with this treatment being experimental, the gene alteration could potentially make the situation worse and the t-calls could begin to attack all cells, even healthy ones. However, the scientist on this project will be monitoring patients closely and do not believe that this will happen. Risky or not this treatment could be one of the biggest scientific break through's of the modern day. This treatment not only gives new hope for those who have not seen success in chemotherapy or radiation, but also for a potential new and improved cancer treatment. One that is not as harsh on the body. If this trail is successful it may also open a door for other people to study other gene editing techniques and cure other genetic diseases.
I wonder if, as gene editing technology progresses, we will be able cure genetic disorders like down syndrome, or cystic fibrosis. I also wonder if with how early some of theses genetic disorders are detected, if a child could be cured of them while they are still in utero. I hope that this study succeeds in helping their patients become cancer free, and that their success will open up the doors for many scientists using gene editing to cure other conditions.