For the first time, a human being has undergone genetic modification to lower blood cholesterol levels – Teach Me Science

This could be the start of a new era for one of the biggest killers of chronic degenerative diseases. In New Zealand, a patient underwent DNA editing to lower blood cholesterol, which could mean the start of preventing heart attacks that affect a significant portion of the population.

Verve Therapeutics is an American biotechnology company, founded in 2018 and in charge of the clinical trial to which this volunteer underwent. The experiment involved injecting a version of CRISPR gene editing (PCSK9) with a new adaptation to the technique that was first developed in 2016 to modify a single letter of DNA in liver cells, this editing of DNA should be enough to permanently lower LDL cholesterol levels, as issued by the company.

What is cholesterol? It is a waxy substance present in the cells of the organism, composed of lipids and proteins and is classified into 2 types: HDL for its acronym in English (high density lipoproteins), also called good cholesterol which is responsible for the transport cholesterol from different parts of our body to the liver, which is in charge of eliminating it, and LDL for its acronym in English (low density lipoproteins) or bad cholesterol, which, unlike the other, is not so good to transport cholesterol and at high levels it accumulates in the arteries. The buildup of this cholesterol plaque is known as arteriosclerosis.

The patient who participated in the study was at hereditary risk for high cholesterol and had previously been diagnosed with heart disease; however, the company’s goal is that this method will eventually be used by millions of people to prevent cardiovascular disease.

According to research geneticist, founder and CEO of Verve Therapeutics, Sekar Kathiresan “if it works and it’s safe, that’s the answer to heart attack, that’s the cure.”

If the company’s experiment works, it could be a turning point in gene editing to prevent common diseases, and “of all the genome editing going on in the clinic, this one could have the biggest impact.” deeper because of the number of people who could benefit from it”. said Scripps Research cardiologist and researcher Eric Topol.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), primarily ischemic heart disease and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death and disability in America, with an estimated 1.9 million deaths annually and 17.3 million deaths in the world.

Card issued by OPS which represents the burden of cardiovascular disease by country in America.

Some of the recommendations for low LDL are based on strict diets, although few people manage to stick to them, or prescription drugs like statins, which can cut a person’s LDL in half. but the effects must be taken into account. and that these alternatives are usually expensive and do not have coverage for the desired population, so once the desired results are obtained and approved, this gene editing method would be the perfect alternative for the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases .

The report and results of the trial have been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

Sharing science, sharing knowledge.

Leave a Comment