Although gene therapy and gene editing studies have very promising potential, ethical debates on the subject continue. Despite all the turmoil in the field, positive news continues to come from geneticists.
A bidder in New Zealand has become the first person to agree to have their own DNA edited to deal with high cholesterol. This study is also valuable in terms of showing how gene-editing technology may have future effects.
He was the first in history
In the study conducted by the US-based Verve Therapeutics, the volunteer’s liver was injected with the gene editing tool CRISPR and a single letter in his DNA was changed. Thus, the gene that causes cholesterol was edited.
According to the company, this easy adjustment will help the person to permanently lower LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol”. LDL cholesterol is a fat molecule in the blood and can occasionally cause clogged arteries or hardening of the arteries.
It was stated that the volunteer participating in the study was already genetically at risk of extra high cholesterol, and also suffered from a heart disease. According to the company, this technique can be used in millions of individuals to prevent cardiovascular ailments.
Sekar Kathiresan, who founded Verve 3 years ago and is also the CEO of the company, said, “If this works and is safe, this will be the answer to the heart attack – this is the cure.” used his words. If CRISPR, which was developed about 10 years ago but only used for less chronic diseases, turns out to be effective and reliable, a new step can be taken in dealing with uncontrollable genetic origin diseases. In the gene editing study called PCSK9, it is predicted that if Verve is successful, cardiovascular diseases, which are the biggest cause of death, can be prevented. Moreover, it is not necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in this technique.