For the first time, scientists have tried to “edit” a gene inside the body, in an attempt to permanently change a person’s DNA.
In California, 44-year-old Brian Madeux received an intravenous dose of billions of copies of a “corrective gene,” with a tool to cut his DNA. Mainstream articles claim the DNA was cut in a precise spot, but other evidence suggests there is nothing precise about the technology.
“It’s kind of humbling to be the first to test this,” said Brain, who is afflicted with something called Hunter syndrome. “I’m willing to take that risk. Hopefully it will help me and other people.”
According to the Guardian:
“Scientists have edited people’s genes before, altering cells in the lab that are then returned to patients. There also are gene therapies that do not involve editing DNA.
But these methods can only be used for a few types of diseases. Some give results that may not last. Some others supply a new gene like a spare part, but can’t control where it inserts in the DNA, possibly causing a new problem, such as cancer.
This time, the genetic tinkering is happening in a precise way inside the body – like sending a miniature surgeon along to place the new gene in exactly the right location.”
The test is being conducted by a California company called Sangamo Therapeutics. The president of that corporation, Dr Sandy Macrae gave a simplistic, allopathic-style non nonchalant explanation of the procedure, saying: “We cut your DNA, open it up, insert a gene, stitch it back up. Invisible mending. It becomes part of your DNA and is there for the rest of your life.”
The process of editing genes is known as “CRISPR,” the name that was given to a process for gene editing about 5 years ago.
If one wants to know what that is, they are offered child-like explanations by mainstream publications such as TIME. They made this video, which seems to speak to an audience that doesn’t even know what DNA is, characteristically dumbed down like the Federal Reserve or Rockefeller Foundation official videos.
Some info about the inaccuracy of gene editing technology can be found in a May 2017 article from Phys titled “CRISPR gene editing can cause hundreds of unintended mutations”:
“As CRISPR-Cas9 starts to move into clinical trials, a new study published in Nature Methods has found that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.
“We feel it’s critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR, including single nucleotide mutations and mutations in non-coding regions of the genome,” says co-author Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD, the Laszlo T. Bito Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and associate professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center and in Columbia’s Institute of Genomic Medicine and the Institute of Human Nutrition.
CRISPR-Cas9 editing technology—by virtue of its speed and unprecedented precision—has been a boon for scientists trying to understand the role of genes in disease. The technique has also raised hope for more powerful gene therapies that can delete or repair flawed genes, not just add new genes.
The first clinical trial to deploy CRISPR is now underway in China, and a U.S. trial is slated to start next year. But even though CRISPR can precisely target specific stretches of DNA, it sometimes hits other parts of the genome. Most studies that search for these off-target mutations use computer algorithms to identify areas most likely to be affected and then examine those areas for deletions and insertions.”
If you understand how much info is left out of scientific research on disease, and how the efforts are usually biased toward producing something that is valuable or profitable, you’d see how dangerous this is.
As a generality, things don’t usually go well when nature is altered in such a way. Allopathy was the original term for what became modern medicine: “lop” means to chop off: and that’s exactly what allopathy was about. Allopathy was about chopping off a limb or giving doses of toxic metals to patients to try and displace the original disease. Just chop it off. Just cut open a gene and add a new one: nature doesn’t agree.
Gene editing is the same type of thing as allopathy. Do people think it will end well to just hack into a gene and systematically change it when we don’t even know what most of our DNA does?
It was previously the consensus that 98% of the human genetic code was “junk DNA,” because it didn’t encode proteins. Then that was revised a little bit about 5 years ago when scientists announced they believe up to 18% of the human genome actually “regulates” the way the 2% encodes proteins. So we still don’t know what most of our DNA does.
Few discoveries have been announced since then, but as money always influences science, this company Sangamo Therapeutics is eager to inject people with DNA and use experimental technology on them despite the wild range of risks and vast lack of information about genetics.
What if a disease isn’t even genetic? What if scientists don’t understand epigenetics (the way genes change with a person’s lifestyle or even thinking), and they disrupt the way genes naturally repair themselves?
People would be wise to sparingly give their trust to things like this, or not at all.
For more of the mainstream line of thought on gene editing, this recent article from VOX promotes it: however, simply choosing to alter RNA instead of DNA hardly sounds like evidence to me that gene editing has become safer, as this article suggests:
“Several years ago, scientists discovered a technique known as CRISPR/Cas9, which allowed them to edit DNA more efficiently than ever before. Since then, CRISPR science has exploded; it’s become one of the most exciting and fast-moving areas of research, transforming everything from medicine to agriculture and energy. In 2017 alone, more than 14,000 CRISPR studies were published.
But here’s the thing: CRISPR, while a major leap forward in gene editing, can still be a blunt instrument. There have been problems with CRISPR modifying unintended gene targets and making worrisome, and permanent, edits to an organism’s genome. These changes could be passed down through generations, which has raised the stakes of CRISPR experiments — and the twin specters of “designer babies” and genetic performance enhancers — particularly when it comes to editing genes in human embryos.
So while CRISPR science is advancing quickly, scientists are still very much in the throes of tweaking and refining their toolkit. And on Wednesday, researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard launched a coordinated blitz with two big reports that move CRISPR in that safer and more precise direction.
In a paper published in Science, researchers described an entirely new CRISPR-based gene editing tool that targets RNA, DNA’s sister, allowing for transient changes to genetic material. In Nature, scientists described how a more refined type of CRISPR gene editing can alter a single bit of DNA without cutting it — increasing the tool’s precision and efficiency.”
PS: fields of science typically “explode” when powerful people pour money into them.
(Image credit: ERIC RISBERG/AP)