How CRISPR Is Changing Cancer Research and Treatment

How CRISPR Is Changing Cancer Research and Treatment

The new tool has taken the research world by storm, markedly shifting the line between possible and impossible. As soon as CRISPR made its way onto the shelves and freezers of labs around the world, cancer researchers jumped at the chance to use it.

“CRISPR is becoming a mainstream methodology used in many cancer biology studies because of the convenience of the technique,” said Jerry Li, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology.

Now CRISPR is moving out of lab dishes and into trials of people with cancer. In a small study, for example, researchers tested a cancer treatment involving immune cells that were CRISPR-edited to better hunt down and attack cancer.

Despite all the excitement, scientists have been proceeding cautiously, feeling out the tool’s strengths and pitfalls, setting best practices, and debating the social and ethical consequences of gene editing in humans.

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