First CRISPR clinical trial gets green light from US panel

Jun 23, 2016

Author: Sara Reardon

Article in Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20137

CRISPR, the genome-editing technology that has taken biomedical science by storm, is finally nearing human trials.

On 21 June, an advisory committee at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) approved a proposal to use CRISPR–Cas9 to help augment cancer therapies that rely on enlisting a patient’s T cells, a type of immune cell.

This first trial is small and designed to test whether CRISPR is safe for use in people, rather than whether it effectively treats cancer or not. It will be funded by a US$250-million immunotherapy foundation formed in April by former Facebook president Sean Parker. The trial itself does not yet have a budget. The University of Pennsylvania will manufacture the edited cells, and will recruit and treat patients alongside centres in California and Texas.

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