BBC News: Base editing: Revolutionary therapy clears girl's incurable cancer

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by cassava7, Dec 11, 2022.

  1. cassava7

    cassava7 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Alyssa, who is 13 and from Leicester, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in May last year.


    Base editing allows scientists to zoom to a precise part of the genetic code and then alter the molecular structure of just one base, converting it into another and changing the genetic instructions.

    The large team of doctors and scientists used this tool to engineer a new type of T-cell that was capable of hunting down and killing Alyssa's cancerous T-cells.

    They started with healthy T-cells that came from a donor and set about modifying them.
    • The first base edit disabled the T-cells targeting mechanism so they would not assault Alyssa's body
    • The second removed a chemical marking, called CD7, which is on all T-cells
    • The third edit was an invisibility cloak that prevented the cells being killed by a chemotherapy drug
    The final stage of genetic modification instructed the T-cells to go hunting for anything with the CD7 marking on it so that it would destroy every T-cell in her body - including the cancerous ones. That's why this marking has to be removed from the therapy - otherwise it would just destroy itself.

    If the therapy works, Alyssa's immune system - including T-cells - will be rebuilt with the second bone-marrow transplant.

    EzzieD, Lisa108, Frankie and 5 others like this.
  2. Andy

    Andy Committee Member

    Hampshire, UK
    From Twitter,

    "Hello @DecodeMEstudy After reading this revolutionary article on BBC News, what are your thoughts and feelings about genome / gene base editing being a potential treatment option for people with ME/CFS if it is to be related to genetics?"

    From Chris Ponting,

    "Hi! Base editing is an exciting experimental therapy - guiding T cells to attack cancer. Because we don’t yet know what precisely is going wrong for #pwME it’s not the right thing for ME/CFS treatment. But part of an expanding toolkit of therapies ready to be used if appropriate."

    DokaGirl, alktipping, Aroa and 8 others like this.
  3. Tia

    Tia Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Amazing! I wonder if this is going to be a possibility in lots of different cancers :emoji_fingers_crossed:
    DokaGirl, Aroa, TigerLilea and 2 others like this.

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