Sunday April 14, 2024



Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing to be Held in Next Week

March 3, 2023

Researchers are gathering for the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing in London next week. During the summit, it's planned to discuss the latest advances in deploying techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 to treat genetic diseases and look ahead to the possible approval of the first genome-editing therapy later this year.

The final summit was held in Hong Kong 2018, three years after the first summit in Washington DC 2015,  a day after biophysicist He Jinakui revealed that he had altered the genomes of three embryos that later gave birth to live children. He received a three-year sentence for violating China's regulations on medical research.

Researchers have discovered new concerns about the use of CRISPR-Cas9 in embryos in the years since He's revelations, including the fact that it can shuffle large segments of chromosomes. This adds to the technique's other potential drawbacks, such as the risk of causing unwanted genetic changes and producing a foetus with a mosaic of edited and unedited cells.

Many countries, including the United States, still lack regulatory mechanisms to ensure that edited embryos are not implanted.

China issued new guidelines on ethical conduct in biological and medical research in February. According to Joy Zhang, a sociologist at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK, these guidelines address the need to inform study participants about potential risks and provide a detailed description of how ethical review boards should operate.

As regulators in the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union consider an application from Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston, Massachusetts, and CRISPR Therapeutics in Zug, Switzerland, to approve a CRISPR-Cas9 therapy for sickle-cell disease, a genetic condition that primarily affects people of African, Indian, or Middle Eastern descent, several sessions at the meeting will examine ways to ensure access in low- and middle-income countries.

The treatment could be approved as the first genome-editing therapy, but researchers are waiting to see how much it will cost.

Total Solar Eclipse to Sweep Across North America

Total Solar Eclipse to Sweep Across North America

When the moon passes squarely in front of the sun, the dazzling surface is obscured and the spectral remnants of the sun's atmosphere are visible.

April 14, 2024