China pushes ahead in race to treat cancer with CRISPR gene editing

china

Shaorong Deng is sitting up in bed at the Hangzhou Cancer Hospital waiting for his doctor. Thin and frail, the 53-year-old construction worker’s coat drapes around his shoulders to protect against the chilly air.

Deng is participating in what [Dr. Shixiu Wu, who’s president of the cancer hospitalsays is the most advanced study in China testing CRISPR in sick people. But at least eight other Chinese studies of CRISPR for various forms of cancer are listed on a U.S. government website that serves as a clearinghouse for biomedical research worldwide. The list includes studies of CRISPR as a treatment for cancers of the lung, bladder, cervix and prostate.

In contrast, only one CRISPR cancer study has been approved in the United States, and it’s only just now starting to look for the first patient to treat.

“China is starting to pull ahead of other parts of the world — maybe for the time — in regards to biomedicine,” says Hallam Stevens, an anthropologist at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore who studies Chinese bioscience. “They’ve been really investing heavily in it over the last couple of decades and it’s starting to pay off in a big way.”

But the less stringent oversight makes doctors and bioethicists worry that some Chinese doctors may be rushing ahead too quickly, possibly putting patients at risk.

Read full, original post: Doctors In China Lead Race To Treat Cancer By Editing Genes

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