Editing genes of white blood cells with electrical fields may help treat HIV, cancer

Gene editing can sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a new technique may allow scientists to remove harmful genes from white blood cells and replace them with more beneficial material. The development carries the potential to open new avenues to treat conditions from HIV and lupus to cancer.

The research—led by Alexander Marson, MD, PhD, the scientific director of biomedicine at the Innovative Genomics Institute, a partnership between University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley—explored a process of using electrical fields to modify genes. Rather than using viruses, scientists used a “CRISPR-Cas9 genome-targeting system that does not require viral vectors” that can streamline the editing process.

“We needed something targeted, something fast and something efficient,” Marson said, in an interview with The New York Times. “What if we could just paste in a piece of DNA and avoid the viruses altogether?”

Read more about the breakthrough and its potential implications at link below: