Podcast: CRISPR advances, HIV cures and a perfect predator for superbugs

5-17-2019 phage news
Image: Eliava

Geneticist Kat Arney explores the latest advances in genetic engineering and health technology at the recent Manova Health Summit in Minneapolis, including CRISPR-based gene therapies, infection-fighting viruses and a potential cure for HIV. Plus exclusive interviews with leading US health journalists Katie Couric and Jane Brody.

Arney talks with Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of global health sciences at UC San Diego, who’s taking an unusual approach to treating antibiotic-resistant superbug infections, using tiny bacteria-busting viruses called phage – the ‘perfect predator’, as she describes them in her new book of the same name.

Strathdee is now bringing phage therapy to the world through IPATH, the Innovative Centre for Phage Therapy at UCSD, but she only started working on it by accident when her husband fell desperately ill with a superbug infection while they were on vacation.

We hear from Cambridge University’s Professor Ravi Gupta, who hit the headlines earlier this year after apparently completely curing a man of HIV through a stem cell transplant. Combining this approach with gene editing technology like CRISPR could be the path to a future cure for many more HIV-positive people around the world.

Related article:  In-body gene editing successful in first trial, targeting Hunter syndrome

Staying with CRISPR, Arney speaks t0 Vinod Jaskula-Ranga, the founder and CEO of Hunterian Medicine, who is addressing the biggest challenge in gene therapy today: how to deliver genetic engineering tools directly into cells in the body.

Jaskula-Ranga has developed a way of packaging the molecular tools for CRISPR into a tiny virus that can deliver them right where they’re needed.

Finally, Arney catches up with two of the most influential health journalists in the US – Katie Couric, whose on-air colonoscopy made headlines nearly 20 years ago, and veteran New York Times columnist Jane Brody.

Couric reflects on progress in cancer advocacy and the responsibility of journalists and celebrities to communicate accurate science, while Brody gives her prescription for a healthy life.

Full transcript, credits and show notes are available here. 

Genetics Unzipped is presented by award-winning science communicator and biologist Kat Arney and produced by First Create the Media for the UK Genetics Society. Follow Kat on Twitter @Kat_Arney, Genetics Unzipped @geneticsunzip, and the Genetics Society at @GenSocUK

Listen to Genetics Unzipped on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend