It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

DNA-editing breakthrough could fix 'broken genes'

page: 1
9

log in

join
share:

posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:00 PM
link   
This is a complicated story with lots if scientific terms.

Basically in adults the cells don't divide so that made it difficult for scientists to make changes, but in break through they can now enter the cell and tweak DNA and have partially returned sight in blind rats.

Very exciting, this could extend the human life span, and help cure some nasty diseases.



Scientists have discovered a new way to edit DNA that could fix “broken genes” in the brain, cure previously incurable diseases and potentially even extend the human lifespan.

The breakthrough – described as a “holy grail” of genetics – was used to partially restore the sight of rats blinded by a condition which also affects humans.

Previously researchers were not able to make changes to DNA in eye, brain, heart and liver tissues


One of the researchers, Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, said: “We are very excited by the technology we discovered because it’s something that could not be done before.

“The possible applications of this discovery are vast.”

The cells in most of the tissues of an adult body do not divide, making it harder for scientists to introduce changes to the DNA.

But Professor Izpisua Belmonte, of the Salk Institute in the US, said: “For the first time, we can enter into cells that do not divide and modify the DNA at will.


Crispr: The science behind a 'game-changing' gene-editing technique

“We now have a technology that allows us to modify the DNA of non-dividing cells, to fix broken genes in the brain, heart and liver.

“It allows us for the first time to be able to dream of curing diseases that we couldn’t before, which is exciting.”

The researchers used the technique on rats born with a genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which affects about one in 4,000 people in the UK.

By altering the genes affecting the eyes, they were able to give the rats a degree of vision.

“It should be noted, however, that although tests demonstrated improved visual responses after subretinal injection of [the DNA repair] to three-week-old … rats, the rescue was only partial and not enough to completely restore vision,” the researchers wrote in a paper about their research in the journal Nature.

The technique, known as HITI, was based on the famous CRISPR gene-editing technique.

“The ability to use HITI for in vivo [in a living animal] targeted transgene insertion into post-mitotic [non-dividing] neurons is unprecedented and will help advance basic and translational neuroscience research,” the paper added.

Scientists who were not involved in the study hailed the breakthrough.

Professor Robert MacLaren, of Oxford University, described the research as a “significant advance”.

“Researchers are now using this mechanism to correct gene defects. Clinical trials are a long way off because the CRISPR proteins may cut DNA at other sites that may have untoward effects,” he said.

“Nevertheless, since ageing is defined as picking up DNA mutations, the ability to correct these mutations may in future provide us with a means of extending our lifespan as well as treating many diseases that relate to ageing.”

Dr Andrew Wood, of the Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine at Edinburgh University, was similarly impressed.

“This study is a really exciting development for therapeutic applications of genome editing,” he said.

“Although other groups have applied similar approaches in dividing cells grown in the laboratory, this is the first time that it has been used in non-dividing cells in a living animal.

“Before it can be applied to humans, it is now important to improve the efficiency with which the genome editing molecules can be delivered to the relevant cells.”

And Dr Helen O’Neill, of the Embryology, IVF and Reproductive Genetics Group at University College London, said the technique could enable doctors in the future to use gene editing to treat patients.

“This is an elegant study which establishes new means for targeted integration of DNA in cells which are no longer dividing,” she said.

“These cells have long been considered a hurdle in somatic cell therapy.

“Further work will need to be done on improving efficiencies, but this work certainly shows new avenues for alternative research into gene therapies.”

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, of The Francis Crick Institute and one of the UK’s leading geneticists, said: “As reported, the methods are not super-efficient. For some genetic diseases it is not necessary to target all cells within the affected tissue, but levels of five per cent or so would only give marginal benefit.

“However, with improvements in this type of technology, which seem inevitable these days, it is likely that the methods developed here could prove to be a very useful way of adding genes to non-diving cells, certainly for purposes of basic research, and perhaps eventually for gene therapy to treat otherwise incurable diseases.

“It is a complicated paper, and it does not quite reach the level as hyped in the press release, but it is indeed rather important.”



www.independent.co.uk...




posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:03 PM
link   
Pretty cool stuff. I don't think I would want to live forever though in the physical sense. I think the real journey and excitement comes after, or in between.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:07 PM
link   
a reply to: iTruthSeeker

You may very well be right, the best is yet to come.

Scary in the best sense of the word.




Pretty cool stuff. I don't think I would want to live forever though in the physical sense. I think the real journey and excitement comes after, or in between.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:10 PM
link   

originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: iTruthSeeker

You may very well be right, the best is yet to come.

Scary in the best sense of the word.




Pretty cool stuff. I don't think I would want to live forever though in the physical sense. I think the real journey and excitement comes after, or in between.



Scary is for sure.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:17 PM
link   
I feel split on this. I think we'll use this (and other things) to live longer and improve our condition. But on the other hand, I feel like while this is using something in nature to get a desired result, it still requires a strict human hand. Dams and geoengineering alter nature in a similar way to suit our needs. The end result is decidedly unnatural. But it does seem nature--on its own--can't keep pace with the rapid advance of knowledge and technology, so the introduction of these mechanisms is pivotal to our continued success.

A progressive attitude is needed. I don't have one. Maybe it's only partially formed. But I always think of how future events are so unpredictable because of the interconnectedness. The future can seem so optimistic in concept, but in reality it's far more nebulous and challenging.

I have a hunch most of us alive today would be considered diseased and disordered by our future peoples. And furthermore they'd view our current lifestyle and culture as abusive, intolerant and unacceptable. If we were given a choice to live in the future, I wonder how many of us would decline on the grounds it's too unnatural or otherwise amoral?
edit on 11/17/2016 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:33 PM
link   
a reply to: jonnywhite

True, look at let's say 1830's. Slavery, women's rights, medical tech, is a short list that make people in 2016 raise an eyebrow.
You are right that in the year 2185 a person will look back and shake their electronic head.




I have a hunch most of us alive today would be considered diseased and disordered by our future peoples. And furthermore they'd view our current lifestyle and culture as abusive, intolerant and unacceptable. If we were given a choice to live in the future, I wonder how many of us would decline on the grounds it's too unnatural or otherwise amoral?



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:39 PM
link   
a reply to: seasonal

I read this story a long time ago that if you flip a few chromosomes you reset your age. After 4 months or so after all your cells divide once or twice you grow back to being 20 years old again.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 03:31 PM
link   

originally posted by: iTruthSeeker
Pretty cool stuff. I don't think I would want to live forever though in the physical sense. I think the real journey and excitement comes after, or in between.


I might want to live for ever in the body of a 25 year old.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 10:17 PM
link   
Hi Seasonal,

originally posted by: seasonal...this could extend the human life span, and help cure some nasty diseases.
Thank you, Seasonal.
There is a catch ...
In the US, it takes the FDA ten years to approve a new drug (the exception being Viagra). Other countries can do it faster. It means that US Citizens will need to travel abroad for the new drug.




top topics



 
9

log in

join