Families with children with rare genetic diseases are cautiously hopeful that CRISPR-based gene editing will someday mean a treatment, but the Deseret News writes that the technique still needs to be refined and comes with some ethical concerns.
It reports that the parents of Henri Bigelow, a 7-year-old with muscular dystrophy, are cautiously optimistic that CRISPR tools could be used to edit the genes of someone like their son to fix a mutation. If such an approach works, the University of Utah's Dana Carroll tells the Deseret News that "that patient will have a cure for that disease for the rest of their life."
But, the paper notes, the technology isn't quite there yet and has to be further vetted to make sure its cuts are precise and it can be delivered to the cells where it is needed. In addition, it notes that editing the genomes of children like Henri who were born with a genetic disease raises little debate, but uses that involve the human germline or that involve more aesthetic alterations have raised concerns.
The Bigelow family, though, isn't getting its hopes up too high, says the Deseret News. "You want to have the hope but, at the same time, it's scary," Henri's mother Alexis Bigelow says.