Gene-editing ‘vaccine’ could radically change heart disease risk

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
heart articlelarge
Image: New York Times

As many as 50 percent of heart attacks strike without any warning signs and in individuals with no history of heart disease. When it comes to fatal heart attacks, the victim’s genes often drive this tragic turn of events. But imagine a world where years before someone’s heart malfunctions, a single infusion reduced their risk of a heart attack by up to 90 percent. That’s the moonshot Dr. Kiran Musunuru is aiming for: the world’s first heart attack “vaccine.”

It’s not a vaccine in the traditional sense — it doesn’t activate the immune system. But, like a vaccine, the concept hinges on a single dose therapy that could confer “enduring and possibly lifelong protection against heart disease,” Musunuru says.

Related article:  We're inching closer to a new vaccine for Lyme disease. But will the public accept it?

In the future, people could still get heart attacks from unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, and environmental factors like pollution. But through this “vaccine” the potentially harmful genes linked to heart attacks would be effectively neutralized before they could cause any harm.

Currently, this process only works in mice. But if the technique is successfully used to edit the human genome, it could radically change the lifespan and quality of life for millions of people around the world at risk of heart disease.

Read the original post

Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Growing human embryos — How long should researchers watch human development play out in a dish?

Infographic: Growing human embryos — How long should researchers watch human development play out in a dish?

In May, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) released new guidelines that relaxed the 14-day rule, taking away ...
Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.