'Tremendous promise' in new era of medicine

Monday, November 27, 2017
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

DNA strandDon't look now but science has us on the verge of some historic medical breakthroughs. 

Forty-four-year old Brian Madeux has Hunter syndrome. It's a genetic condition that doesn't allow the body to process sugar properly and has left him with the scars from more than two dozen surgeries. A couple of weeks ago, he became the first patient to be treated with a new therapy that edits his DNA to replace the damaged strands.

Dr. David Stevens of the Christian Medical Association says studies with animals have been remarkably successful.

"This holds tremendous promise," he says. "This is the ability to cut a piece of DNA out and replace it with another piece of DNA and do it very accurately, and it's done chemically."

Stevens, David (CMDA)Gene editing is but one of a number of advances that promise to revolutionize medicine, including the Mt. Everest of medical discovery: a potential cure for some types of cancer.

The closest is called CAR T-cell therapy and is being tested on some childhood leukemias.

"It essentially takes the chemotherapy to the exact cancer and kills it without causing as much harm in the rest of the body," he explains. "This is a major discovery and...could revolutionize the treatment of cancer in this country."

Of course, for every real breakthrough there are some rather dubious claims. A few weeks ago, a rumor from China reported researchers doing head transplants.

"These claims are out there and, of course, it's sensationalism," says Stevens, "and people are attracted to read the story."

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