Base Editing

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    In News 

    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.

    • In this form of blood cancer, the T-cells, which are a class of white blood cells, equipped to hunt and neutralise threats to the body, turn against the body and end up destroying healthy cells that normally help with immunity. 
    • The disease is rapid and progressive and is usually treated by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

    ‘Base Editing

    • 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.

    Developments 

    • 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). 

    Source:TH