A very unique and new method of treatment was given to two girls with leukemia. They both have slowly started to recover. The target was to kill their cancers using a special gene-editing method, and it worked. This treatment was first given to a girl named Layla. A team of experts from the Great Ormond Street Hospital had conducted this experiment. This team could not provide any conclusions back in November as to whether the girl was indeed cured of leukemia.
This indicates yet another astounding take on how effective gene editing has become to treat conditions. But how exactly is this treatment done? Also known as CAR-T cell therapy, the primary function of it is that it targets specific cancer cells by the addition of a gene to immune cells. Virus helps in adding the said gene. The virus carries a part of the patient’s RNA with a specific pattern that will cut at a specific site, and it correlates to a pre-programmed code. It allows it to kill without damage certain genes with cancer properties instantly. Even though it has promising results, CAR-T cell therapy is not guaranteed.
One of the drawbacks of this method is that it is expensive, and it is not easily available because patients need to be treated using their modified immune cells. This destroys the option of using other regular cells as the body will treat them as foreign objects which are viable for an attack. However, there is still some good news. A Paris based company known as Cellectis has developed a gene-editing tool that allows the use of immune cells from an outsider without the host body attacking them. These new gene-editing methods will open doors for improvising immune cancer therapies. Researchers have now started using these methods, with two cancer trials using CRISPR-edited cells, which are undergoing in China and the U.S.