CRISPR could save the lives of sick children by tweaking the embryos of their siblings

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[Tweaking an embryo’s DNA can] help save someone who is already alive.

Take the case of Jessica and Keith, a couple in the Bay Area with a 2 1/2-year-old daughter with Fanconi anemia, a genetic disease that leads to the failure of bone marrow to produce red and white blood cells and carries an increased risk of a number of cancers. The best treatment is a stem cell transplant from a sibling, and Jessica and Keith, who asked that their last name not be used, are now in the process of trying to have another child through IVF who can serve as a donor — what’s known as a savior sibling.

But making an embryo that’s both healthy and a suitable donor “match” for the older sibling is an exercise in long odds. It’s theoretically possible that altering an embryo’s DNA with the genome-editor CRISPR could improve the process.

Related article:  Viewpoint: It's time to stop 'worrying' whether gene-edited plants and animals are GMOs—and set aside senseless regulations

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He and Jessica understand it’s too soon to use CRISPR in such cases. The technology is not advanced or precise enough yet — and might never be.

But it’s another example of the ways in which genome-editing could help patients where other reproductive technologies cannot.

Read full, original post: Could editing the DNA of embryos with CRISPR help save people who are already alive?

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