Brain, body, and business health are the main topics at the 2019 Modern Health Conference, which was attended by a range of professionals and non-professionals – doctors, scientists, capitalists, tech experts, and even eager amateurs. Interesting discussions about cancer immunotherapy, artificial intelligence, and gene editing also took place. Speakers were particularly focused on gene therapy, or the use of specific genomes to treat various conditions, which is part of the process of gene editing.
What Is Genome Editing?
Genome editing is a process that involves modifying the DNA of different living things, including animals, plants, and bacteria. Editing their DNA may lead to transformations in physical characteristics, such as skin and eye color, and the risk for disease. Scientists utilize different forms of technologies to achieve this. These technologies serve as cutters that separate the DNA at particular areas, and then scientists fill these areas with new sets of DNA.
Today, the gene-editing device, CRISPR, now makes it much easier to edit DNA. Developed in 2009, the CRISPR came out cheaper and easier to handle than the previous devices invented in the 1900s. The results are also more accurate, which is why this is what most experts are using this device.
One of the purposes of gene editing is to identify various diseases that may affect human beings. Scientists edit the DNA of mice, for example, because animals have similar genes as human beings. In fact, humans and mice share more than 80% of their genes. If they modify a single gene or many genes in mice, scientists can investigate how the changes that occur in mice can affect their health, and in turn humans’ physical and mental health.
Gene therapy is a treatment that involves gene editing to treat and prevent illnesses in humans. Tools utilized for gene editing have been proven to help identify and treat diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and even some cancers. There are two classifications of gene therapy – somatic therapy and germline therapy. The former targets non-reproductive cells while the latter modifies DNA in egg and sperm cells.
Five years ago, somatic therapy was used in treating a one-year-old in her fight against leukemia. Scientists utilized a different editing tool referred to as TALENs. Laila’s treatments were the first of many attempted treatments that became successful.