Gene editing refers to the insertion, deletion or modification of DNA in the genome. The role of gene-editing in science is in demand nowadays. It is applied to cure many harmful and deadly diseases. Science is helping humanity in various ways and gene-editing is one of them. Recently two babies have been reported to save from incurable Leukemia of which gene therapy has been the reason.
A team of European researchers has reported that two girls are successfully cured of Leukemia. They were provided with genetically engineered white blood cells and cancerous cells were targeted. The stage of molecular remission was achieved after 28 days. This is an amazingly short period. The children were suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia
It is a stage of a cancer where it proceeds quickly and sharply and requires immediate cure and care. There are two types of white blood cells; lymphocytes- that fight viral infections and myeloid cells- fight bacterial cells and perform other functions. Gene-editing technology has paved the path for the treatment of this deadly disease. It is cancer that starts from bone-marrow. It invades the blood in no time, then it moves to other organs. It is primarily difficult to treat and becomes fatal within a few months.
Place of treatment
The teams of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and Cellectis, which is a famous French Biotech firm have done a lot of hard work and research to save these children.
Although many drug companies have used this technique in the past, yet they extracted cells from those patients who were undergoing treatment of leukemia. The children who are affected by this deadly disease have less number of white blood cells. If their WBCs is extracted, it can harm and weaken their immunity. In the present case, white blood cells were extracted from healthy children and engineered in the patients who were affected by leukemia. There was also involved the risk of negative reaction of WBCs by the children’s immune system but it did not happen during the procedure. One of the patients reacted to the foreign cells that were engineered into his genome but the team of trained physicians and surgeons controlled the situation. They used steroids and the procedure of bone marrow transplantation to overcome the situation.
The transference of foreign DNA into other children’s body has predicted that it can be used as a therapy that will generate positive impacts on all the donors. It is expected that it does not depend on the age and relative immune system strength of the patients. This trial on two girls has open new paths of research in this regard. Now scientists and researchers can do plenty to confirm this technique in other children and adults.
Cancer is a condition that not only harms our immune system but also affects our whole body. Although many researches and effective methods or techniques have been developed to control this deadly condition yet cancer remains a threat to the whole world.