CRISPR inventor Jennifer Doudna sees first human therapy five to 10 years away

August 24, 2018

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The Future of Medicine May Land Within Five to 10 Years, Crispr Inventor Says

A pioneer of the Crispr gene-editing technology that’s taken Wall Street by storm says the field is probably five to 10 years away from having an approved therapy for patients.

Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, who runs the Doudna Lab at the University of California at Berkeley, says major questions remain about the safety and effectiveness of experimental therapies that aim to disrupt or repair defective genes. But she’s optimistic about their prospects.

“Can we today edit the DNA in human cells? Yes. Can we do it accurately? Yes. That’s absolutely being done in many labs around the world now,” Doudna said in an interview on the sidelines of a gene-editing summit at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. “But the challenge is how to think about moving that into a clinical setting.”

It’s not going to be an easy task, the researcher acknowledges, but “many of us feel so excited about the opportunities, that there’s a lot of motivation both on the part of academic scientists as well as companies to figure out the steps that will make that possible.”

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