The first U.S. trial of CRISPR in humans has begun, NPR reported Tuesday. Two patients are currently being treated as part of a University of Pennsylvania study. Per NPR, both have difficult-to-treat forms of cancer and both have relapsed after regular treatments. As part of the trial, researchers are taking immune cells from the patients’ own bodies and editing them with CRISPR before putting them back in. The hope is that these edited cells will be better at identifying and attacking the cancer than their unaltered counterparts. According to the U.S. government clinical trial registry, the researchers are hoping to enroll 18 people in their study. But it’s not certain yet whether they’ll be approved for that many subjects, reports Jon Fingas for Engadget. Continue reading CRISPR is now being used on humans in the U.S.
FROM THE WINDOWS of Ginkgo Bioworks’ Boston offices you can peer down into a grimy vestige of the city’s past. Across the street, workers in yellow-slicker overalls scrub, scrape, and repair the decks of worn-out warships and ocean tankers parked in a drydock. During World War II, 50,000 people worked the docks and the eight-story waterside warehouse that Ginkgo now calls home. Inside the synthetic biology company’s glass-walled foundries, humans are now less obvious, with algorithms designing industrial organisms and robot armies building them in humming, hypnotic synchronicity. Continue reading GINKGO BIOWORKS IS TURNING HUMAN CELLS INTO ON-DEMAND FACTORIES
As the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it approached last week and the entire internet devolved into a morass of Trump headlines, the Food and Drug Administration quietly put forth proposed regulations that could drastically impact whether genetically engineered food winds up on your dinner plate in the future.
Designer babies are the kind of hypothetical conundrum that drive scientists crazy. What if, you ask, it becomes so easy to pick and choose which traits we desire in our children that we wind up creating a class of genetically engineered super humans and basically begin living out a real-life performance of the novel Brave New World? Yeah, what if, most scientists would respond.
The future is going to be genetically modified. That means the future could be disease-free with babies being designed in labs by parents who live in a world where aging has stopped all thanks to genetic engineering. Or the future might be something else entirely with state-mandated genetic engineering to turn citizens into super soldiers. Who knows.
Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern.
You assert the importance of a variety of disruptive technologies from robots to genetics to coded money. What in your mind will have the most impact on the day to day lives of our children when compared to how we live?