At the start of the new year all of the scientists working in different fields being to create a schedule of perceived accomplishments that will occur in regard to their specific field of study. In the term of the people working with CRISPR, they speculate that the first in body injection in order to conduct real time genome editing will occur in 2020. Prior to this year, CRISPR has been used to edit and alter the DNA of red blood cells outside of the body, but the scientists working with this new form of biological technology belief that this year it will be used the way it is intended to be used.
CRISPR was originally found in 2012 inside bacteria in order to help stop viruses from infecting them. Scientists saw the possible benefit of this in humans and through years of research discovered that CRISPR can help place another enzyme Cas9, which snips out parts of DNA, in a correct spot on the genome to alter and edit a person’s DNA code. While over time some scientists have wondered about the ethics of this new discovery, most are excited by all of the possibilities that CRISPR has on curing diseases.
Currently, the reason that CRISPR-Cas9 has become a talking point recently was due to the fact and difference between gene editing “in vivo” versus gene editing “ex vivo”, meaning within the body or outside the body. Scientists working with CRISPR have been able to understand how editing “ex vivo” works. They are able to see the genes they want to edit and watch the process occur. This is also easier for the scientists because if the editing messes up, they do not need to reinsert the altered cell back into the body. On the other hand, “in vivo” gene editing is much more efficient and can be completed through a simple injection, but may cause dangerous consequences, such as cancer, if a mistake is made in both the scientists’ coding of the CRISPR or in the process done by the CRISPR itself.
Now that scientists are starting to attempt to move from “ex vivo” editing to “in vivo” editing, all of these questions and issues are being brought up. With lots of labs around the country working on moving into “in vivo” editing and an FDA approval for the procedure, the first CRISPR-Cas9 “in vivo” gene editing is bound to happen soon. Hopefully, this new biological technology does its job properly and gives hope to those who have various currently seemingly incurable disease. If successful, CRISPR could revolutionize medicine itself to make it more efficient and effective. Feel free to comment about how you think CRISPR will do in the first “in vivo” test and how it could effect life later on.