Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chinese Rish into Clinical Trials of Potentialy Deadly Cancer Treatment

This new CRISPR treatment is to me very biologically interresting. It does however have a scary factor to it when you think of the possible negative effects of it. It could cause the body to attack itself, particularly the gut and adrenaline glands. That sounds like one step forward to steps back to me. I guess if they are only trying it on people that are no responsive to chemo and other treatments, the possibility of living trumps dying for certain. Before they try this on anyone else besides those doomed to this last resort rushed test trial, they better get some pretty convincing evidence that the treatment can be successful without short or long term repercussions in the majority of people.
Anyways, let's get back to the science part(super awesome cool part). From what I understand, this gene PD-1, more or less is in charge of  preventing the body from attacking its self. In the case of cancer, the body needs to attack its own cells. This understanding has lead to many treatments including this one, revolving around blocking or getting rid of PD-1. CRISPR is the process of editing out that gene from the T cells, therefore allowing the cells to attack the cancer cells without hesitation. This process reminds me of the p-glo lab we did. Only we inserted a gene into the ecoli's DNA ring thing. They focused on the extraction part. This all connects to the concepts we were learning about in genetics. we learned about how enzymes can cut off specific sections of a chromosome based on nucleotide order. That section of DNA could then be introduced into another foreign cell's DNA. This having already been done, but mostly to plansts and animals to enhance their production capabilities. Now all that had to be done was six months of research and we are almost ready to GMO human subjects.
Yes this article also forces me to ask a few questions. The article mostly talks about blocking PD-1, but it does also mention extracting a second and inserting a third. What does that mean? Why are those other genes not mentioned? Also PD-1 seems to be pretty important in the protection of healthy cells, is this edit only evident  in the T cells of the blood, or will the rest of the rest of the body, as cells duplicate and die, phase this gene out all together? I guess I'm not totally understanding. Would this genetic change be passed on to future generations? The article said that all T cells would be active. Last big question, is 6 months a reasonable time frame? Is it safe for the Chinese to get politically involved to push forward the dates of clinical trial. I'm honestly I bit concerned for the mindset of the people developing this drug.the patient should come first, not China.
I would say I would like to learn more about the bodies immune response in general. What are T cells? What makes them special? How do they work. I guess that if I want to know how the body protects itself, I would want to know what against and how things like tumors form.
I understand the concepts of the article pretty well, I believe that most people could, but what I want to know now, is the details.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree that the DNA changes are a very risky move when it comes to cancer treatment. A cells genetic make up isn't something that is normally messed with without harsh consequences. I guess that the only way to tell exactly how well the treatment will work however, is to test it on humans. If I were a cancer patient that had received unsuccessful chemo therapy though, I think I might be open to something a bit new and risky. It's going to be amazing if this is widely successful for cancer patients across the world.
    P.S. Your title has a typo ;)