Support of Germ Line Editing, With Strict Guidelines
A panel, formed by the National Academy of the Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, recently convened to discuss the ethics of gene editing in human embryos. The panel chose to support gene editing in embryos, making genetic changes which can be passed on. However, the panel set strict guidelines allowing for the use of these tools only to prevent serious disease. You can read more about the report and responses to it, here.
G-CSF, a drug routinely given to cancer patients to help combat infections was found to promote sperm cell production in the lab. The discovery was an unexpected result of a study conducted at the University of Texas. While the Hermann lab continues to study the stem cells that give rise to sperm, their results could lead to studying the effects of G-CSF on the fertility of cancer patients.
The gene editing tool, CRISPR, has been the center of a patent fight between Jennifer Doudna of the University of California and Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The ruling found Zhang’s work, which allows CRISPR to be used in mammalian cells, to be independent of Doudna’s initial work on CRISPR. The team at the University of California is not discouraged and is considering an appeal.
IBM is developing a hub for information collected from wearables. The device, which they’re calling “Cognitive Hypervisor”, would collect health data and share it with your doctor. Beyond collecting health data, the developers hope it may also predict any health or medical issues for a patient. Could wearables become a pillar of precision medicine?
Keep an eye out for more roundups like this one!