an illustration of T cells attacking a cancer cell
an illustration of T cells attacking a cancer cell

Two Patients Treated with CRISPRed Cells in Immunotherapy Trial

One person with multiple myeloma and one with sarcoma are the first so far to receive the genetically engineered T cells in the study.

Shawna headshot
Shawna Williams

Shawna joined The Scientist in 2017 and is now a senior editor and news director. She holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Colorado College and a graduate certificate and science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Apr 16, 2019

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, MELETIOUS VERAS

Doctors have infused cells edited using CRISPR-Cas9 into two patients in a trial conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, NPR reports today (April 16). A university spokesperson confirmed in an emailed statement to The Scientist that the trial is underway and that two patients, one with multiple myeloma and one with sarcoma, have been treated so far. The study is the first instance of patients in the US being treated with a CRISPR-based therapy.

See “CRISPR Inches Toward the Clinic

In an interview with The Scientist in June 2018, the leader of the study, oncologist Edward Stadtmauer, explained that CRISPR would be used as a tool in a new type of immunotherapy. His team would filter T cells from the blood of eligible patients with cancer, then use the gene-editing technique to knock out three of the cells’ existing receptors and...

In addition to cancer applications, researchers are exploring the use of so-called ex vivo CRISPR editing—in which cells are altered outside the body and then given to patients—to treat blood disorders such as β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Other teams are working to develop therapies that would edit genes at fault in genetic diseases inside patients’ bodies.

Interested in reading more?

an illustration of T cells attacking a cancer cell

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?