What is CRISPR? Penn Medicine Explains


Let’s talk about genes. No, not those, those. (rhythmic chime music) Genes determine our traits
like eye color and freckles. Some genes make people more
likely to get certain diseases like high cholesterol or some cancers. Whether it’s cancer, HIV,
or antibiotic resistance, so much of modern medicine is
influenced by people’s genes. If only there was a way to change them the way we change a flat tire. It turns out, there is. Using a technology called CRISPR, scientists can edit the DNA of the genes that make us who we are. CRISPR lets scientists
locate a faulty gene, then cut the DNA strand
where it’s located, to remove, fix, or replace it. The DNA then repairs the cut and the body goes back to normal. So, how can CRISPR advance medicine? It could eliminate inherited conditions like sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis. It could fight cancer by deleting genes to help immune cells attack tumors. It could treat HIV, herpes, or hepatitis by removing the viruses’
genetic information from the patient’s cells. It could prevent antibiotic
resistant infections by removing the resistive
genes from bacteria. While CRISPR can be revolutionary, it comes with questions about
safety and ethical boundaries. That’s why it’s critical that scientists, like the experts at Penn, continue to safely and responsibly explore this ground-breaking technology
for use only in patients with medical need. Because with clinical trials
in progress around the world, CRISPR has the potential
to change medicine forever. (quiet piano music)

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