A team of scientists from the Sichuan University’s West China Hospital in Chengdu will begin the first CRISPR human trial for lung cancer patients in August of this year. Patients who have failed to respond to treatments—who still haven’t gotten well even after undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments—were chosen to take part in the CRISPR trial.
Scientists plan to take T cells from patients and use the CRISPR-Cas9 technique to edit out the PD-1 gene. PD-1 regulates T cells’ immune response and prevents them from attacking healthy cells. The team will then multiply the modified samples in the lab before reintroducing them to the patients’ bloodstream, in the hopes that they’ll target parts of the patient’s body affected with cancer. A biotechnology company will validate the cells before they’re reintroduced into the patient to make sure only PD-1 was edited out.