‘Hit and Miss’ Modern Gene Editing! Crispr edit could be ‘off-target!’

Frankenstein 1818 edition title page.jpgNothing sets off my Modern Prometheus alarms as the most recent interest in gene editing, particularly in that little bit of Crispr that seems to find its way into biological gene forms. Just like Victor Frankenstein creating his creature from dead body parts in Mary Shelley’s novel from 1818, we now have scientists in China working to find the way to ‘edit’ genes like the ones that they suspect cause cancer. Sound like fun? It didn’t turn out so well for Victor, and without actually understanding what’s happening with genetic ‘disorders,’ is it such a good idea to shoot in the dark?

“Modern gene editing is quite precise but it is not perfect. The procedure can be a bit hit and miss, reaching some cells but not others. Even when Crispr gets where it is needed, the edits can differ from cell to cell … Another common problem happens when edits are made at the wrong place in the genome. [oops!] There can be hundreds of these “off-target” edits that can be dangerous if they disrupt healthy genes or crucial regulatory DNA.”

But it’s already happening, right?

Image result for gene editing crispr

A bit of micro-cutting to get those genes back into tip-top shape! Victor Frankenstein eat your heart out. Boris may be closer than you think!

Gene editing – and what it really means to rewrite the code of life

 

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Cast by Chronic Illness Into a Limiting Role

Longreads

Maris Kreizman | Longreads | November 2017 | 10 minutes (2,462 words)

In junior high, I had my heart set on attending a famous performing arts sleep-away camp in upstate New York. All I’d ever wanted from the time I was 4 and saw a local production of Oliver! was to be a Broadway star. I could barely contain my jealousy of all the child actors who were making it big in musical theater that year, 1990: the orphans of Les Miz, the orphans of The Secret Garden, the orphans of Annie. I had the talent to be an orphan too! I just needed a chance to go away from home, I reasoned, because very few successful orphan characters are discovered living with their parents.

If only I could attend French Woods, the place where Natasha Lyonne and Zooey Deschanel had spent their summers — a destination…

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BC has highest national rate of those who can’t afford to take drug prescriptions as directed

highs and lows“According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, BC has the highest rate of residents in Canada who can`t afford to take their drug prescriptions as directed.“ (Originally published in the Times Colonist) 

What does this mean? Multinational drug companies profit from selling name-brand medication. Many people in BC are struggling with costs related to higher MSP premiums, rent, and the costs of basic necessities such as food.

“According to the study, about 10 per cent of Canadians who received a prescription chose not to either fill it or renew it, or skipped doses for cost reasons.“

If somebody chooses to not take their needed prescription medication because they can`t afford it, they will most likely end up in the hospital, thus causing the taxpayer further financial burdens. This is particularly true for people with a chronic condition, such as type 1 diabetes.  In other words, it may be a good idea for the government to pay for necessary prescriptions.

“Prescription drugs fall outside of the Canada Health Act. Critics say that creates a patchwork of drug coverage that leaves two-thirds of Canadian households paying all or a portion of their prescription drug costs.“