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商业 - 科技

中国基因编辑技术取得重大突破,遥遥领先美国

Mukherjee 2016年11月17日

中国科学家在基因编辑技术的最新成就具有里程碑式的意义。

近日,一支中国的科学家团队首次利用CRISPR-Cas9基因编辑技术,将编辑过的细胞注入了一名病人体内。这也是该技术在全球首次被直接应用于人体,在基因研究领域具有里程碑式的意义。

据《自然》杂志报道,10月28日,四川大学的研究人员们在四川大学华西医院将经过基因编辑的细胞注入到了一名参与临床试验的肺癌患者体内。这支团队是由肿瘤学家卢铀医生领导的。

这种旨在治疗癌症的CRISPR基因编辑技术需要进行一系列的分子切割,引导Cas9分子“敲”掉免疫细胞内可能滋生癌症的致病基因。然后这些被编辑过的细胞会被重新放回患者体内,用以攻击恶性肿瘤。

此次人体试验原本计划于今年八月进行,由于培养被编辑的细胞所需要的时间超出了最初的预期,因而一直拖到十月底才得以实施。不过中国人在CRISPR技术上的试验步伐依然远远走在了美国人的前头。美国的首次CRISPR人体试验目前还处于计划阶段,虽然今年年初,美国的研究人员已经获准进行此项试验(并且获得了科技界的亿万富翁肖恩·帕克的投资),但估计一直要等到2017年年初,这项试验才会在宾西法尼亚大学进行。

癌症免疫学家卡尔·琼恩博士对《自然》杂志表示,中国科学家率先实施此项技术的临床测试,很可能会引发中美两国在此项技术上的良性竞争。

“我认为在生物医学领域上将爆发一场新的‘美苏太空竞赛’,不过这次的竞争双方将是中国和美国。不过竞争也是很重要的,因为它通常有助于提高最终产品的质量。”

中国科学家的此次试验将在10名患者身上进行,被试者每人将接受2至4次的编辑细胞注射。该研究的重点在于确定这项基因疗法的安全性,以及它是否会产生令人无法接受的副作用。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

In a landmark for genomic research, a team of Chinese scientists has injected cells modified with the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology into a patient. It’s the first known time the technique has actually been deployed in a human.

Researchers from the Sichuan University in Chengdu inserted the re-engineered cells into a lung cancer patient participating in a clinical trial at the West China Hospital on October 28th, according to Nature. The team is being led by oncologist Dr. Lu You.

Cancer-focused CRISPR technology involves taking a set of molecular shears and the guiding molecule Cas9 in order to cut out unwanted genes in immune cells that may help proliferate cancers. These modified cells are then put back into patients in order to attack cancerous tumors.

The trial was actually supposed to launch back in August but was delayed because growing and culturing the genomically edited cells took longer than originally expected. Regardless, the study has begun well ahead of the first planned American CRISPR trials, which won regulatory clearance earlier this year (and are being funded by tech billionaire Sean Parker) but are unlikely to begin until 2017 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Still, the Chinese scientists’ first-to-the-clinic victory may help fuel positive rivalries in the U.S., scientist and cancer immunotherapy expert Dr. Carl June told Nature.

“I think this is going to trigger ‘Sputnik 2.0’, a biomedical duel on progress between China and the United States, which is important since competition usually improves the end product,” he said.

The Chinese trial will be conducted on ten patients who will receive anywhere from two to four injections of modified cells, and the study will mostly focus on how safe the treatments are and whether or not they have unacceptable side effects.

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