These 7 Disruptive Technologies Could Be Worth Trillions of Dollars

June 29, 2017

Scientists, technologists, engineers, and visionaries are building the future. Amazing things are in the pipeline. It’s a big deal. But you already knew all that. Such speculation is common. What’s less common? Scale.

How big is big?

“Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Silicon Dock, all of the Silicons around the world, they are dreaming the dream. They are innovating,” Catherine Wood said at Singularity University’s Exponential Finance in New York. “We are sizing the opportunity. That’s what we do.”

Catherine Wood at Exponential Finance.

Wood is founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, a research and investment company focused on the growth potential of today’s disruptive technologies. Prior to ARK, she served as CIO of Global Thematic Strategies at AllianceBernstein for 12 years.

“We believe innovation is key to growth,” Wood said. “We are not focused on the past. We are focused on the future. We think there are tremendous opportunities in the public marketplace because this shift towards passive [investing] has created a lot of risk aversion and tremendous inefficiencies.”

In a new research report, released this week, ARK took a look at seven disruptive technologies, and put a number on just how tremendous they are. Here’s what they found.

(Check out ARK’s website and free report, “Big Ideas of 2017,” for more numbers, charts, and detail.)

1. Deep Learning Could Be Worth 35 Amazons

Deep learning is a subcategory of machine learning which is itself a subcategory of artificial intelligence. Deep learning is the source of much of the hype surrounding AI today. (You know you may be in a hype bubble when ads tout AI on Sunday golf commercial breaks.)

Behind the hype, however, big tech companies are pursuing deep learning to do very practical things. And whereas the internet, which unleashed trillions in market value, transformed several industries—news, entertainment, advertising, etc.—deep learning will work its way into even more, Wood said.

As deep learning advances, it should automate and improve technology, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and more. And as is often the case with emerging technologies, it may form entirely new businesses we have yet to imagine.

“Bill Gates has said a breakthrough in machine learning would be worth 10 Microsofts. Microsoft is $550 to $600 billion,” Wood said. “We think deep learning is going to be twice that. We think [it] could approach $17 trillion in market cap—which would be 35 Amazons.”

2. Fleets of Autonomous Taxis to Overtake Automakers

Wood didn’t mince words about a future when cars drive themselves.

This is the biggest change that the automotive industry has ever faced,” she said.

Today’s automakers have a global market capitalization of a trillion dollars. Meanwhile, mobility-as-a-service companies as a whole (think ridesharing) are valued around $115 billion. If this number took into account expectations of a driverless future, it’d be higher.

The mobility-as-a-service market, which will slash the cost of “point-to-point” travel, could be worth more than today’s automakers combined, Wood said. Twice as much, in fact. As gross sales grow to something like $10 trillion in the early 2030s, her firm thinks some 20% of that will go to platform providers. It could be a $2 trillion opportunity.

Wood said a handful of companies will dominate the market, and Tesla is well positioned to be one of those companies. They are developing both the hardware, electric cars, and the software, self-driving algorithms. And although analysts tend to look at them as a just an automaker right now, that’s not all they’ll be down the road.

“We think if [Tesla] got even 5% of this global market for autonomous taxi networks, it should be worth another $100 billion today,” Wood said.

3. 3D Printing Goes Big With Finished Products at Scale

3D printing has become part of mainstream consciousness thanks, mostly, to the prospect of desktop printers for consumer prices. But these are imperfect, and the dream of an at-home replicator still eludes us. The manufacturing industry, however, is much closer to using 3D printers at scale.

Not long ago, we wrote about Carbon’s partnership with Adidas to mass-produce shoe midsoles. This is significant because, whereas industrial 3D printing has focused on prototyping to date, improving cost, quality, and speed are making it viable for finished products.

According to ARK, 3D printing may grow into a $41 billion market by 2020, and Wood noted a McKinsey forecast of as much as $490 billion by 2025. “McKinsey will be right if 3D printing actually becomes a part of the industrial production process, so end-use parts,” Wood said.

4. CRISPR Starts With Genetic Therapy, But It Doesn’t End There

According to ARK, the cost of genome editing has fallen 28x to 52x (depending on reagents) in the last four years. CRISPR is the technique leading the genome editing revolution, dramatically cutting time and cost while maintaining editing efficiency. Despite its potential, Wood said she isn’t hearing enough about it from investors yet.

“There are roughly 10,000 monogenic or single-gene diseases. Only 5% are treatable today,” she said. ARK believes treating these diseases is worth an annual $70 billion globally. Other areas of interest include stem cell therapy research, personalized medicine, drug development, agriculture, biofuels, and more.

Still, the big names in this area—Intellia, Editas, and CRISPR—aren’t on the radar.

“You can see if a company in this space has a strong IP position, as Genentech did in 1980, then the growth rates can be enormous,” Wood said. “Again, you don’t hear these names, and that’s quite interesting to me. We think there are very low expectations in that space.”

5. Mobile Transactions Could Grow 15x by 2020

By 2020, 75% of the world will own a smartphone, according to ARK. Amid smartphones’ many uses, mobile payments will be one of the most impactful. Coupled with better security (biometrics) and wider acceptance (NFC and point-of-sale), ARK thinks mobile transactions could grow 15x, from $1 trillion today to upwards of $15 trillion by 2020.

In addition, to making sharing economy transactions more frictionless, they are generally key to financial inclusion in emerging and developed markets, ARK says. And big emerging markets, such as India and China, are at the forefront, thanks to favorable regulations.

“Asia is leading the charge here,” Wood said. “You look at companies like Tencent and Alipay. They are really moving very quickly towards mobile and actually showing us the way.”

6. Robotics and Automation to Liberate $12 Trillion by 2035

Robots aren’t just for auto manufacturers anymore. Driven by continued cost declines and easier programming, more businesses are adopting robots. Amazon’s robot workforce in warehouses has grown from 1,000 to nearly 50,000 since 2014. “And they have never laid off anyone, other than for performance reasons, in their distribution centers,” Wood said.

But she understands fears over lost jobs.

This is only the beginning of a big round of automation driven by cheaper, smarter, safer, and more flexible robots. She agrees there will be a lot of displacement. Still, some commentators overlook associated productivity gains. By 2035, Wood said US GDP could be $12 trillion more than it would have been without robotics and automation—that’s a $40 trillion economy instead of a $28 trillion economy.

“This is the history of technology. Productivity. New products and services. It is our job as investors to figure out where that $12 trillion is,” Wood said. “We can’t even imagine it right now. We couldn’t imagine what the internet was going to do with us in the early ’90s.”

7. Blockchain and Cryptoassets: Speculatively Spectacular

Blockchain-enabled cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Steem, have caused more than a stir in recent years. In addition to Bitcoin, there are now some 700 cryptoassets of various shapes and hues. Bitcoin still rules the roost with a market value of nearly $40 billion, up from just $3 billion two years ago, according to ARK. But it’s only half the total.

“This market is nascent. There are a lot of growing pains taking place right now in the crypto world, but the promise is there,” Wood said. “It’s a very hot space.”

Like all young markets, ARK says, cryptoasset markets are “characterized by enthusiasm, uncertainty, and speculation.” The firm’s blockchain products lead, Chris Burniske, uses Twitter—which is where he says the community congregates—to take the temperature. In a recent Twitter poll, 62% of respondents said they believed the market’s total value would exceed a trillion dollars in 10 years. In a followup, more focused on the trillion-plus crowd, 35% favored $1–$5 trillion, 17% guessed $5–$10 trillion, and 34% chose $10+ trillion.

Looking past the speculation, Wood believes there’s at least one big area blockchain and cryptoassets are poised to break into: the $500-billion, fee-based business of sending money across borders known as remittances.

“If you look at the Philippines-to-South Korean corridor, what you’re seeing already is that Bitcoin is 20% of the remittances market,” Wood said. “The migrant workers who are transmitting currency, they don’t know that Bitcoin is what’s enabling such a low-fee transaction. It’s the rails, effectively. They just see the fiat transfer. We think that that’s going to be a very exciting market.”

https://singularityhub.com/2017/06/16/the-disruptive-technologies-about-to-unleash-trillion-dollar-markets/

Will technology allow us to transcend the human condition?

June 18, 2016

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While it may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi film, the U.S. intelligence community is considering “human augmentation” and its possible implications for national security.

As described in the National Intelligence Council’s 2012 long-term strategic analysis document — the fifth report of its kind — human augmentation is seen as a “game-changer.” The report detailed the potential benefits of brain-machine interfaces and neuro-enhancements, noting that “moral and ethical challenges . . . are inevitable.”

The NIC analysts aren’t the only ones following the rapid growth of technology. Today there is an entire movement, called transhumanism, dedicated to promoting the use of technological advancements to enhance our physical, intellectual and psychological capabilities, ultimately transcending the limitations of the human condition. Its proponents claim that within the next several decades, living well beyond the age of 100 will be an achievable goal.

Coined by biologist and eugenicist Julian Huxley (brother of author Aldous Huxley) in 1957, transhumanism remained the the terrain of science fiction authors and fringe philosophers for the better part of the 20th century. The movement gained broader interest as science advanced, leaping forward in credibility in the 1990s with the invention of the World Wide Web, the sequencing of the human genome and the exponential growth of computing power.

New technologies continue to push the limits of life. CRISPR enables scientists to alter specific genes in an organism and make those changes heritable, but the advancement is so recent that regulation is still up for debate. Meanwhile, participants in the “body-hacking” movement are implanting RFID microchips and magnets into their bodies to better take advantage of potentially life-enhancing technology. (Some claim, not unfairly, that these modifications aren’t so different from much more accepted technologies such as pacemakers and intrauterine devices). Just last week, in a closed-door meeting at Harvard University, a group of nearly 150 scientists and futurists discussed a project to synthesize the human genome, potentially making it possible to create humans with certain kinds of predetermined traits.

Transhumanism, in its most extreme manifestation, is reflective of an increasingly pervasive and influential school of thought: that all problems can and should be solved with the right combination of invention, entrepreneurship and resource allocation. The movement has its critics. Techno-utopianism is often described as the religion of Silicon Valley, in no small part because tech moguls are often the only ones with the resources to pursue it, and the only ones who stand to benefit in the near term.

As the solutions that transhumanists champion slowly enter the market, high prices leave them far out of reach for the typical consumer. Even today, the ability to make use of neuro-enhancing drugs and genetic screening for embryos greatly depends on whether one can afford them. If the benefits of human enhancement accrue only to the upper classes, it seems likely that inequality will be entrenched in ways deeper than just wealth, fundamentally challenging our egalitarian ideals.

And for many religious and philosophical opponents, transhumanism appears at its core to be an anti-human movement. Rather than seeking to improve the human condition through engagement with each other, transhumanists see qualities that make up the human identity as incidental inconveniences — things to override as soon as possible.

But for all its misgivings, transhumanism is making its way from the world of speculative technology into the mainstream. Google recently hired Ray Kurzweil, the inventor best known for his predictions of “the singularity” — simply put, the moment at which artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence — and his assertions that medical technology will soon allow humans to transcend death, as its chief futurist. At the same time, the Transhumanist Party is floating Zoltan Istvan as its own third-party candidate for president.

The transhumanist movement is growing in followers and gaining media attention, but it’s unclear whether its particular preoccupations are inevitable enough to concern us today. Yet as technology continues to provide tools to manipulate the world around us, it becomes more and more likely that we will reach to manipulate ourselves. What could be the ramifications of a new wave of human enhancement? And what does our increasing fascination with technological futurism say about our priorities today?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/05/16/will-technology-allow-us-to-transcend-the-human-condition/

In CRISPR advance, scientists successfully edit human T cells

July 29, 2015

crispr

In a project spearheaded by investigators at UC San Francisco, scientists have devised a new strategy to precisely modify human T cells using the genome-editing system known as CRISPR/Cas9. Because these immune-system cells play important roles in a wide range of diseases, from diabetes to AIDS to cancer, the achievement provides a versatile new tool for research on T cell function, as well as a path toward CRISPR/Cas9-based therapies for many serious health problems.

Using their novel approach, the scientists were able to disable a protein on the T-cell surface called CXCR4, which can be exploited by HIV when the virus infects T cells and causes AIDS. The group also successfully shut down PD-1, a protein that has attracted intense interest in the burgeoning field of cancer immunotherapy, as scientists have shown that using drugs to block PD-1 coaxes T cells to attack tumors.

The CRISPR/Cas9 system has captured the imagination of both scientists and the general public, because it makes it possible to easily and inexpensively edit genetic information in virtually any organism. T cells, which circulate in the blood, are an obvious candidate for medical applications of the technology, as these cells not only stand at the center of many disease processes, but could be easily gathered from patients, edited with CRISPR/Cas9, then returned to the body to exert therapeutic effects.

But in practice, editing T cell genomes with CRISPR/Cas9 has proved surprisingly difficult, said Alexander Marson, PhD, a UCSF Sandler Fellow, and senior and co-corresponding author of the new study. “Genome editing in human T cells has been a notable challenge for the field,” Marson said. “So we spent the past year and a half trying to optimize editing in functional T cells. There are a lot of potential therapeutic applications, and we want to make sure we’re driving this as hard as we can.”

The new work was done under the auspices of the Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI), a joint UC Berkeley-UCSF program co-directed by Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, PhD, and Jonathan Weissman, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Marson is an affiliate member of the IGI.

Doudna, professor of chemistry and of cell and molecular biology at Berkeley, and an HHMI investigator, said that the research is a significant step forward in bringing the power of CRISPR/Cas9 editing to human biology and medicine. “It’s been great to be part of this exciting collaboration, and I look forward to seeing the insights from this work used to help patients in the future,” said Doudna, co-corresponding author of the new paper.

Cas9, an enzyme in the CRISPR system that makes cuts in DNA and allows new genetic sequences to be inserted, has generally been introduced into cells using viruses or circular bits of DNA called plasmids. Then, in a separate step, a genetic construct known as single-guide RNA, which steers Cas9 to the specific spots in DNA where cuts are desired, is also placed into the cells.

Until recently, however, editing human T cells with CRISPR/Cas9 has been inefficient, with only a relatively small percentage of cells being successfully modified. And while scientists have had some success in switching off genes by inserting or deleting random sequences, they have not yet been able to use CRISPR/Cas9 to paste in (or “knock in”) specific new sequences to correct mutations in T cells.

As will be reported online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of July 27, 2015, a team led by first authors Kathrin Schumann, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Marson’s laboratory, and Steven Lin, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Doudna lab, cracked these problems by streamlining the delivery of Cas9 and single-guide RNA to cells.

In lab dishes, the group assembled Cas9 ribonucleoproteins, or RNPs, which combine the Cas9 protein with single-guide RNA. They then used a method known as electroporation, in which cells are briefly exposed to an electrical field that makes their membranes more permeable, to quickly deliver these RNPs to the interior of the cells.

With these innovations, the researchers successfully edited CXCR4 and PD-1, even knocking in new sequences to replace specific genetic “letters” in these proteins. The group was then able to sort the cells using markers expressed on the cell surface, to help pull out successfully edited cells for research, and eventually for therapeutic use.

“We tried for a long time to introduce Cas9 with plasmids or lentiviruses, and then to express separately the single-guide RNA in the cell,” Schumann said. “Using RNPs made outside the cell, so that the cell is responsible for as little of the process as possible, has made a big difference.”

Marson stressed that, while recent reports of CRISPR/Cas9 editing of human embryos have stirred up controversy, T cells are created anew in each individual, so modifications would not be passed on to future generations. He hopes that Cas9-based therapies for T cell-related disorders, which include autoimmune diseases as well as immunodeficiencies such as “bubble boy disease,” will enter the clinic in the future.

“There’s actually well-trodden ground putting modified T cells into patients. There are companies out there already doing it and figuring out the safety profile, so there’s increasing clinical infrastructure that we could potentially piggyback on as we work out more details of genome editing,” Marson said. “I think CRISPR-edited T cells will eventually go into patients, and it would be wrong not to think about the steps we need to take to get there safely and effectively.”


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California – San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150727153727.htm

Scientists Call for a Summit on Gene-Edited Babies

March 26, 2015

A group of senior American scientists and ethics experts is calling for debate on the gene-engineering of humans, warning that technology able to change the DNA of future generations is now “imminent.”

In policy recommendations published today in the journal Science, eighteen researchers, including two Nobel Prize winners, say scientists should accept a self-imposed moratorium on any attempt to create genetically altered children until the safety and medical reasons for such a step can be better understood.

The concern is over a rapidly advancing gene-editing technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, which is giving scientists the ability to easily alter the genome of living cells and animals (see “Genome Surgery”). The same technology could let scientists correct DNA letters in a human embryo or egg cell, for instance to create children free of certain disease-causing genes, or perhaps with improved genetics.

“What we are trying to do is to alert people to the fact that this is now easy,” says David Baltimore, a Nobel Prize winner and former president of Caltech, and an author of the letter. “We can’t use the cover we did previously, which is that it was so difficult that no one was going to do it.”

Many countries already ban “germ line” engineering—or changing genes in a way that would be heritable from one generation to the next—on ethical or safety grounds. Others, like the U.S., have strict regulations that would delay the creation of gene-edited children for years, if not decades. But some countries have weak rules, or none at all, and Baltimore said a reason scientists were speaking publicly now was to “keep people from doing anything crazy.”

The advent of CRISPR is raising social questions of a kind not confronted since the 1970s, when the ability to change DNA in microӧrganisms was first developed. In a now famous meeting in 1975, in Asilomar, California, researchers agreed to avoid certain kinds of experiments that were then deemed dangerous. Baltimore, who was one of the organizers of the Asilomar meeting, says the scientists behind the letter want to offer similar guidance for gene-engineered babies.

The prospect of genetically modified humans is surprisingly close at hand. A year ago, Chinese researchers created monkeys whose DNA was edited using CRISPR (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2014: Genome Editing”).

Since then, several teams of researchers in China, the U.S., and the U.K. have begun using CRISPR to change the DNA of human embryos, eggs, and sperm cells, with an eye toward applying the technology at in vitro fertility (IVF) clinics. That laboratory research was described by MIT Technology Review earlier this month (see “Engineering the Perfect Baby”).

Last week, in Nature, representatives of an industry group, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, recommended a wider moratorium that would also include a cessation of such laboratory studies, which it termed “dangerous and ethically unacceptable” (see “Industry Body Calls for Gene-Editing Moratorium”).

But that position was rejected by the authors of the current Science editorial. Instead, they said basic research on germ line engineering should move forward, including efforts to determine “what clinical applications, if any, might in the future be deemed permissible.”

Today’s statement was organized by Jennifer Doudna, a University of California, Berkeley, biologist who codiscovered the CRISPR technology. She confirmed that the group supports using it to edit the DNA of early-stage human embryos if it’s for scientific research.

That recommendation could come as a bombshell to critics of germ line engineering, as well as religious groups. Some believe an ethical “bright line” should separate humanity from the kind of gene-tinkering used on plants, microbes, and animals. If so, what is the point of testing the technology in human embryos?

But some authors of the Science editorial believe basic research must be given a free hand. “Science should not be impeded in its earliest stages by concerns that improvements in, and validations of, certain parts of the technology are opening the door to eugenics,” says Paul Berg, a professor emeritus at Stanford’s medical school, who also signed the letter. Berg said he supported research aimed at “perfecting the technology in preparation for the time when society could sanction germ line modification in medicine.”

A growing industry has already sprung up around gene editing, which is being applied to lab animals and farm species, and is being contemplated as a way to treat adults with diseases like muscular dystrophy or HIV infection. Such treatments of sick individuals are known as somatic gene therapy, and were not the subject of the current editorial, or the call for a moratorium.

Theoretically, germ line editing could correct genes that lead to lethal diseases before birth. For instance, if a person had Huntington’s disease, caused by a single faulty gene, CRISPR could be used to eliminate the mutation from that person’s children.

One biotechnology company, OvaScience of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has invested more than $2 million dollars investigating whether gene-editing could be used in IVF procedures. OvaScience did not respond to a request for comment.

While correcting inherited disease genes could prove medically useful, the authors of the Science editorial said much remained unknown. “Even this seemingly straightforward scenario raises serious concerns,” they said of editing disease genes back to their healthy form. That is because scientists are unable to predict all the consequences of changing DNA letters in a person, especially if multiple genes were corrected at once.

“You would be making changes in generations to come, in ways that are very hard to predict,” says Baltimore.

In their editorial, the researchers call for high-level technical forums to discuss CRISPR, as well as convening a “globally representative” group of government agencies, ethics experts, and scientists to recommend policies. In the meantime, they say, scientists must refrain from actually producing genetically engineered babies, even though the opportunity to do so now exists.

“Scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical applications in humans,” they write

 

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/536021/scientists-call-for-a-summit-on-gene-edited-babies/

 

 

Revealed: Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases

article_codev-2013-07-03-a881e5b7e2-genome_editing

Jennifer Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, who was one of the co-discoverers of the Crispr technique, said Professor Anderson’s study is a “fantastic advance” because it demonstrates that it is possible to cure adult animals living with a genetic disorder.

A genetic disease has been cured in living, adult animals for the first time using a revolutionary genome-editing technique that can make the smallest changes to the vast database of the DNA molecule with pinpoint accuracy.

Scientists have used the genome-editing technology to cure adult laboratory mice of an inherited liver disease by correcting a single “letter” of the genetic alphabet which had been mutated in a vital gene involved in liver metabolism.

A similar mutation in the same gene causes the equivalent inherited liver disease in humans – and the successful repair of the genetic defect in laboratory mice raises hopes that the first clinical trials on patients could begin within a few years, scientists said.

The success is the latest achievement in the field of genome editing. This has been transformed by the discovery of Crispr, a technology that allows scientists to make almost any DNA changes at precisely defined points on the chromosomes of animals or plants. Crispr – pronounced “crisper” – was initially discovered in 1987 as an immune defence used by bacteria against invading viruses. Its powerful genome-editing potential in higher animals, including humans, was only fully realised in 2012 and 2013 when scientists showed that it can be combined with a DNA-sniping enzyme called Cas9 and used to edit the human genome.

Correcting genetic code graphic

Correcting genetic code graphic

Since then there has been an explosion of interest in the technology because it is such a simple method of changing the individual letters of the human genome – the 3 billion “base pairs” of the DNA molecule – with an accuracy equivalent to correcting a single misspelt word in a 23-volume encyclopaedia.

In the latest study, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used Crispr to locate and correct the single mutated DNA base pair in a liver gene known as FAH, which can lead to a fatal build-up of the amino acid tyrosine in humans and has to be treated with drugs and a special diet.

The researchers effectively cured mice suffering from the disease by altering the genetic make-up of about a third of their liver cells using the Crispr technique, which was delivered by high-pressure intravenous injections.

“We basically showed you could use the Crispr system in an animal to cure a genetic disease, and the one we picked was a disease in the liver which is very similar to one found in humans,” said Professor Daniel Anderson of MIT, who led the study.

“The disease is caused by a single point mutation and we showed that the Crispr system can be delivered in an adult animal and result in a cure. We think it’s an important proof of principle that this technology can be applied to animals to cure disease,” Professor Anderson told The Independent. “The fundamental advantage is that you are repairing the defect, you are actually correcting the DNA itself,” he said. “What is exciting about this approach is that we can actually correct a defective gene in a living adult animal.”

Jennifer Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, who was one of the co-discoverers of the Crispr technique, said Professor Anderson’s study is a “fantastic advance” because it demonstrates that it is possible to cure adult animals living with a genetic disorder.

“Obviously there would be numerous hurdles before such an approach could be used in people, but the simplicity of the approach, and the fact that it worked, really are very exciting,” Professor Doudna said.

“I think there will be a lot of progress made in the coming one to two years in using this approach for therapeutics and other real-world applications,” she added.

Delivering Crispr safely and efficiently to affected human cells is seen as one of the biggest obstacles to its widespread use in medicine.

Feng Zhang, of the Broad Institute at MIT, said that high-pressure injections are probably too dangerous to be used clinically, which is why he is working on ways of using Crispr to correct genetic faults in human patients with the help of adeno-associated viruses, which are known to be harmless.

Other researchers are also working on viruses to carry the Crispr technology to diseased cells – similar viral delivery of genes has already had limited success in conventional gene therapy.

Dr Zhang said that Crispr can also be used to create better experimental models of human diseases by altering the genomes of experimental animals as well as human cells growing in the laboratory.

Professor Craig Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School said that delivering Crispr to the cells of the human brain and other vital organs will be difficult. “Crispr therapies will no doubt be limited for the foreseeable future,” he said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/revealed-scientists-edit-dna-to-correct-adult-genes-and-cure-diseases-9273555.html