By Sean Marshall
The Seattle Times covered an article this week published an article on gene editing. It mainly focused on what could be considered ethical. However when the article focused on gene the implications editing can have those who sufferer from sickle cell anemia it became more interesting.
The idea behind gene editing is that when a human embryo is forming certain traits in theory, and very soon in practice, a doctor could edit out potential problems. For instance they could edit out the sickle cell trait.
As of right now scientists are calling the gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 to edit animals mainly but others are making the jump to human beings. The big controversy is that a team in China managed to edit a human embryo potential curing a deadly disease. This then lead to the debate about designer babies.
This concept involves changing the entire genetic pattern of ones child to suit the wants of the parent. This is when the article starts to lose any connection with sickle cell and starts becoming something else.
Although it doesn't really seem all that morally complicated of an issue to stop sickle cell disease. Most parents aren’t going to go overboard and ultimately this is all theoretical until CRISPR-Cas9 becomes more widespread.
If you'd like to learn more about the issue you can find the original article here: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/gene-editing-holds-huge-promise-but-whats-ethical/
Other news this week another biopharmaceutical company engaging in developments for treating rare disease. It was announced that Emmaus Life Scenic inc, a biopharmaceutical company out of Orrance California has decided to develop commercial treatments for “therapies for rare and orphan diseases,” this did include sickle cell disease.
There plan was to have “management present an abstract from its completed FDA phase 3 sickle cell disease (SCD) trial at the 9th annual Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Advance Conference.” The news itself isn't anything spectacular but in recent weeks more and more companies are going public about their developments into possible cures or at the very least life easing drugs that affect sickle cell anemia.
In the past month many pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies are not only becoming publicly traded but are becoming much more profitable because they are banking on public interest and support due to claims of a sickle cell free world one day.
The original article can be found here:http://news.sys-con.com/node/3489754
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