Researchers have developed a genome-editing tool for the potential treatment of mitochondrial diseases: serious and often fatal conditions which affect 1 in 5,000 people.
More research needs to be done to understand whether CRISPR-Cas9 – molecular ‘scissors’ that make gene editing a possibility – may inadvertently increase cancer risk in cells, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Karolinska Institutet.
Nanobots that patrol our bodies, killer immune cells hunting and destroying cancer cells, biological scissors that cut out defective genes: these are just some of technologies that Cambridge researchers are developing which are set to revolutionise medicine in the future.
Researchers have used genome editing technology to reveal the role of a key gene in human embryos in the first few days of development. This is the first time that genome editing has been used to study gene function in human embryos, which could help scientists to better understand the biology of our early development.
Gene editing using ‘molecular scissors’ that snip out and replace faulty DNA could provide an almost unimaginable future for some patients: a complete cure. Cambridge researchers are working towards making the technology cheap and safe, as well as examining the ethical and legal issues surrounding one of the most exciting medical advances of recent times.