Could editing the DNA of embryos with CRISPR help save people who are already alive?

ANDREW JOSEPH | September 16, 2019

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Amid last year’s backlash against the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies, some experts preached prudence: Editing the genomes of embryos, they argued, could one day “cure” people of diseases before they’re even born. But there is another, less-discussed potential application of editing an embryo: tweaking its DNA to help save someone who is already alive. Take the case of Jessica and Keith, a couple in the Bay Area with a 2 1/2-year-old daughter with Fanconi anemia, a genetic disease that leads to the failure of bone marrow to produce red and white blood cells and carries an increased risk of a number of cancers. The best treatment is a stem cell transplant from a sibling, and Jessica and Keith, who asked that their last name not be used, are now in the process of trying to have another child through IVF who can serve as a donor — what’s known as a savior sibling.

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