Meet the Fetal Surgeon Forging CRISPR’s Next Frontier: Curing Diseases in the Womb

February 26, 2024

Baby holding adult's hand

(STAT News) – If UCSF is known for birthing the field of fetal surgery, UC Berkeley, located a short drive across the Bay Bridge, is famous in biomedical circles for pioneering CRISPR gene editing, the most powerful DNA-manipulating tool ever invented. What MacKenzie envisions — the future she is now preparing for — is the convergence of these technologies into a whole new field of medicine dedicated to curing diseases before birth: fetal genome surgery. This is surgery without scalpels or sutures, just a syringe pushing particles containing CRISPR into the vein that connects a pregnant person to the fetus. Once inside the fetus’ cells, CRISPR’s molecular scissors snip away the string of problematic DNA, stopping a catastrophic genetic disease before it really starts. If successful, it would fundamentally and forever change the practice of fetal and maternal care. (Read More)