A federal advisory committee of US National Institutes of Health has approved a proposal for using the CRISPR CAS-9 genome editing tool in clinical trials on humans.
The proposal is to test the treatment of cancer by picking out T-cells, which are a special type of immune cells found in the body, from patients with cancer and to modify the T-cells and use them to target the cancer cells. This information was published online in a report in Nature, on June 22.
The proposed study is led by Edward Stadtmauer, a physician at University of Pennsylvania. As per the proposal, the university will manufacture the edited cells and recruit patients for the trial. The Recombinant DNA Research Advisory Committee, which advises the NIH director on basic and clinical research, reviews all proposals for human trials that involve modification of the DNA. Its approval is a major step forward for any proposed trial. The team will now have to convince regulators in the U.S. and their own institutions to allow the trial which is expected to start by the end of the year.