Doctors Gene-edit Patient’s Liver to Make Less Cholesterol

After promising experimental trials on Monkeys, clinical trials of a Gene-altering serum (dubbed VERVE-101) to cure cholesterol levels have begun, MIT Technology Review Reports

The potential cure is being developed by a US-based biotech company, Verve Therapeutics, and a volunteer from New Zealand, who had inherited risk of extremely high cholesterol and was already suffering from heart disease, recently got injected with a variation of the Gene-altering tool, CRISPR.

CRISPR is intended to alter just one letter of DNA in the liver of the patient, and the company is hoping that this tiny “edit” is going to be enough to permanently lower the patient, and by extension, everyone else’s, harmful LDL cholesterol levels- a fatty molecule that can lead to clogged arteries when present in excessive levels in the body.

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Doctors believe lowering LDL aggressively and maintaining it at low levels can essentially prevent people from dying from cardiovascular diseases. While this cure develops, the current recommendations for lowering LDL levels are following strict, low-calorie diets, regular exercise, and other expensive prescribed medication.

Very few people successfully incorporate these into their routines in the long term – and even then, these treatments do little to help them fight their cholesterol levels.

If Verve’s experiment works, it will open a gateway into new research that uses gene-editing solutions to cure many other diseases and conditions.

As for VERVE-101, it is now set to undergo larger clinical trials with 40 adult patients who have heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HefH)- a condition that predisposes people to extremely high cholesterol levels.

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