First clinical trial with CRISPR/Cas9 for the treatment of cancer

In October 2016, a team led by a researcher from Sichuan University in Chengdu performed the first human cancer treatment using the "gene scissors" CRISPR/Cas9 in a clinical trial. The patient suffering from aggressive, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer was treated by removing immune cells (T cells) from the blood and using CRISPR/Cas9 to remove the gene for the production of PD-1 protein. The cells were successfully modified and multiplied and then reinjected into the patient. The PD-1 protein plays a major role in suppressing the body's own defense against the tumor, thereby promoting tumor proliferation. The modified T cells, on the other hand, lack the corresponding gene and should be able to attack and destroy the cancer cells. Results of the study are still pending. 

The first application of the CRISPR/Cas9 technique in humans and further planned studies are reported in the scientific journal Nature:

Cyranoski, David (2016): CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first time. In: Nature 539, 479. doi: 10.1038/nature.2016.20988 Online Version

Further information:

The module Genome Editing in this In Focus explains the CRISPR/Cas9 technique.

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