Scientists in the last couple of days have hailed what has been described as “jaw dropping” breakthrough that could transform the treatment of cancer, HIV and correct other gene defects like sickle cell anaemia.
The new technique, known as Crispr allows any part of the human genome to be re-engineered with a level of precision never seen before. Before the advent of Crispr, “editing” the genome often involves inserting DNA at random, at considerable risk to patients.
Professor Dagan Wells, of Oxford university, said the “potential seems enormous” but added: “I think it’s important to stress that the therapeutic potential of this sort of genetic microsurgery is yet to be proven. A significant amount of work will need to be done to assess the safety of the method before it can be used clinically.”
Professor Peter Braude, of King’s College London, said: “There is a long way to go in relation to IVF.”