Researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote his book, The Gene, so that general audiences can understand about the science of genomics and the technological possibilities. As noted by Bill Gates in a book review, "Technology is amoral. It is neither good nor bad. It is up to all of us—not just scientists, government officials, and people fortunate enough to lead foundations—to think hard about these new technologies and how they should and should not be used. Reading The Gene will get you the point where you can actively engage in that debate."
What is so timely is that at the same time there is a published article in Nature that talks about use of this technology: RESEARCHERS USE CRISPR TO REPAIR SICKLE CELL GENE, HUMAN CLINICAL TRIALS PLANNED. Reuters (11/7, Steenhuysen) reports researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine “have used the CRISPR gene editing tool to repair the gene that causes sickle cell disease in stem cells from diseased patients.” The researchers believe they may be able to “start planning the first human clinical trial using the powerful CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system to correct the genetic mutation that causes sickle cell disease.”
A new story has been added about this topic from China:
FIRST HUMAN CLINICAL TRIAL INVOLVING CRISPR-EDITED CELLS LAUNCHED IN CHINA. In continuing coverage, PBS NewsHour (11/16, Tiffany) reports on its website that a team in China is treating a cancer patient with cells that were modified using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. The landmark clinical trial is being led by oncologist Lu You of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and currently involves 10 patients.
It interested, reading this book may help you think about the benefits and risks of emerging possibilities. Please provide your thoughts about the book or the technology below!