Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Gene Editing for the Remission

An infant in London with an aggressive leukemia has been given TALEN-edited immune cells, a treatment that appears to have put her disease into remission, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The infant, Layla, had relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia against which conventional treatment was ineffective. The Journal notes that an experimental treatment called CAR in which patients' T cells are removed and engineered to better find and eliminate leukemia cells had shown some success in trials. But Layla didn't have enough of her own immune cells to use.

Instead, clinicians from Great Ormond Street and University College London researchers along with Cellectis turned to T cells from a healthy donor that they edited using TALENs so they didn't attack the girl's body as well as so they wouldn't be attacked by the leukemia drugs then given to the girl.

Weeks after the cells were given to Layla, the Journal reports, she went into remission.

"It's very exciting but it is early days," Matt Kaiser from the UK charity Bloodwise says

Still, the Journal notes that a number of companies like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novartis, and Sangamo BioSciences and academic researchers are exploring gene editing, including using zinc finger nucleases and CRISPR.

The Scan

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.

Study Examines Relationship Between Cellular Metabolism, DNA Damage Repair

A new study in Molecular Systems Biology finds that an antioxidant enzyme shifts from mitochondria to the nucleus as part of the DNA damage response.

Stem Cell Systems Target Metastatic Melanoma in Mouse Model

Researchers in Science Translational Medicine describe a pair of stem cell systems aimed at boosting immune responses against metastatic melanoma in the brain.

Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas Team Introduces Genomic Data Collection, Analytical Tools

A study in Cell Genomics outlines open-source methods being used to analyze and translate whole-genome, exome, and RNA sequence data from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas.