ScienceNews highlights the next advancement in CRISPR-Cas9 using multiple sources detailing the first human trials in the U.S.
The CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology has generated lots of excitement in the scientific community for its low costs, high efficiency and outstanding accuracy at altering genetic information at particular locations in the genome. Research teams pilfered this technology from a naturally occurring gene-editing system within bacteria and have since adapted it such that small, synthetic RNA “guide” sequences can bind to DNA and direct the Cas9 enzyme to the correct portion of the genome. Henceforth, lab technicians have adopted the capability to target these DNA-binding points and add, remove or adjust genetic material.
Primarily, this this technology has targeted isolated human cells and animal models with the aim of routine use in humans for treating various diseases and conditions at the genetic level. This research itself has initiated the first human trials, using a CRISPR treatment that targets the immune cells – known as the T-cells. Specifically, three patients suffering from either multiple myeloma or sarcoma, had their T-cells removed and edited such that they were newly equipped with a genetic “warhead” – a gene that directs these immune cells to active tumour cells bound to a specific protein. The results demonstrated a lack of negative side-effects; however, proliferation of cancer cells was not arrested either.
The author, Tina Hesman Saey, provides an exceptional summary of new CRISPR-Cas9 research trials in humans that are “a first step toward[s] fulfilling the gene editor’s medical promise.” Fundamentally, the author provides a comprehensive vision of what is already known regarding the technology with an adequate focus on the ethical limitations of CRISPR-Cas9 in previous, and novel, studies. In doing so, the readers are provided with an ample, yet simplified for easy accessibility, degree of background knowledge needed to comprehend the broad scope of this technology.
Hesman Saey does not exaggerate, nor understate, any claims made in this report and emphasizes that trials and data are still early. Thus, the general audience is equipped with a warning that this technology is still being tested and as such, cannot be extrapolated out as a be-all and end-all treatment for such diseases for the time being. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the author sustains an overarching neutrality throughout the report and utilises an accessible vocabulary.
There are very few flaws that could improve the validity of this report however, it is notable that Hesman Saey solely cites the journal article itself. With this in mind, this barrier is mitigated with, and claims are validated by, extensive contributions of several leading experts on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Overall, Tina Hesman Saey’s report of this novel research is a true embodiment of the scientific process and provides valuable insight into the implications of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
In this article, author Tina Hesman Saey summarizes the necessary information about the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology without giving any opinion of her own on the subject. The information she provides reports on trials that have been conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and the American Society of Hematology.
Saey uses multiple sources throughout the article that give information about the rise of CRISPR, its intended uses and benefits, and provides insight into the possible future of the CRISPR technology without misinforming the reader.
Saey is sure to inform the reader that the research on CRISPR is still in its early stages, and there have not been copious amounts of research done on the subject.
Saey gives the necessary background information needed to understand the gene editing technology, and how it can be beneficial. As well as she does not put emphasis on any aspects of the research and does not draw any conclusions that are not direct from the research itself. Saey made the trials from secondary sources easily accessible and cited (in-text) the research she used from the sources.
Saey effectively uses multiple perspectives in the article to correctly inform the reader of all the information that is known about CRISPR. Multiple perspectives benefit the article as a whole because all the information did not come from an individual source, proving the article to be unbiased, and giving the reader the ability to compare claims about the subject.
Overall, this article is very successful in informing the reader about CRISPR and the newest trials that have been conducted, without making any unsupported claims or giving misinformation.
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