Federal Panel Approves First Use of CRISPR Gene Editing in Humans

DNAA federal biosafety and ethics panel on Tuesday unanimously approved the first study in patients of the genome-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9, in an experiment that would use CRISPR to create genetically-altered immune cells to attack three kinds of cancer. The experiment, proposed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, still needs the approval of the medical centers where it would be conducted, as well as from the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the use of experimental treatments in people. If the study gets those okays, it would enroll patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma, and sarcoma, and be funded by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which was launched this year by tech mogul Sean Parker. The trial would be conducted at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (enrolling nine patients) and the University of California, San Francisco (three), as well as Penn (three). Penn would also produce the genetically-modified T cells.

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