Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

First CRISPR Gene Editing Trial in Cancer Patients Shows Promising Results

By Mark Prvulovic – Feb 7, 2020 at 5:09PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The technique itself appears to be safe and effective in humans.

The first human trial involving CRISPR gene-editing technology to modify the immune cells of cancer patients recently announced its findings. The trial, which is the first of its kind to publish its results, tested three individuals with advanced cancer to see whether or not genetically edited immune cells would be safely tolerated by the patient's bodies.

The three patients in question, all in their 60s, had tumors that failed to respond to various cancer treatments. During the trial, they were given a dose of CRISPR-modified variants of their own T cells, which were deliberately edited to be more efficient at killing cancer cells. Not only were there no problems reintroducing these modified cells back into the patient's bodies, but it turned out that these cells survived longer than expected. Modified cells were found present in the patient's nine months after the treatment.

A picture of a piece of DNA being plucked by a pair of tweezers.

Image source: Getty Images.

All three patients saw their symptoms stabilize during the treatment period, with one even seeing a reduction in tumor size. Although the treatment was just a one-time injection and wasn't continued, the results were promising enough that experts are considering the trial a success.

A big deal for gene-editing stocks

While the trial didn't produce lasting changes in patients, it did prove that gene-edited immune cells could be safely integrated into the body without major complications.

This is also encouraging news for biotech stocks developing gene-edited drugs. Companies like CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP 4.14%) and Editas Medicine (EDIT 4.01%) are creating a number of drug candidates to treat various genetic disorders, but safety concerns are a top concern for this new technology. These recent trial results might help mitigate these concerns while opening the door for further tests in the future.

Mark Prvulovic has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends CRISPR Therapeutics and Editas Medicine. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Editas Medicine, Inc. Stock Quote
Editas Medicine, Inc.
EDIT
$12.70 (4.01%) $0.49
CRISPR Therapeutics Stock Quote
CRISPR Therapeutics
CRSP
$63.63 (4.14%) $2.53

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
327%
 
S&P 500 Returns
105%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.