Four U.S. CRISPR Trials Editing Human DNA to Research New Treatments

September 4, 2019

(Smithsonian) – Last fall, the birth of genetically edited twin girls in China—the world’s first “designer babies”—prompted an immediate outcry in the medical science community. The change to the twins’ genomes, performed using the gene editing technology CRISPR, was intended to make the girls more resistant to H.I.V. But the edited genes may result in adverse side effects, and the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing is currently working on stricter and less ambiguous guidelines for editing the DNA of human embryos as a response to the rogue experiment. Human genetic engineering has also witnessed more regulated advances. In the past 12 months, four clinical trials launched in the United States to use CRISPR to treat and potentially cure patients of serious medical conditions.