Scientists in the United Kingdom testing a new form of cancer therapy, reported success in a teenaged girl, Alyssia, with a form of cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
- Alyssia was the first to receive experimental gene therapy that relied on a new technique called ‘base editing.’
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
- A person’s genetic code is several permutations of four bases: Adenine (A), Guanin (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T).
- Sequences of these bases, akin to letters in the alphabet, spell out genes that are instructions to produce the wide array of proteins necessary for the body’s functions.
- With advances in genetic technology, scientists have been able to zoom into a precise part of the genetic code to alter the molecular structure of just one base, effectively changing its genetic instructions.
- A team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital managed to use base-editing to create a new type of T-cell from a healthy donor that would not attack other cells in Alyssa’s body, not kill each other, survive chemotherapy and finally, hunt down all other T-cells in Alyssa’s body (healthy and cancerous).