By Rosalind Brown, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh
Most people will have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but fewer people are aware of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), a silently progressing disease of ageing responsible for nearly half of all cases of dementia along with a large percentage of strokes. The global health impact of SVD is huge and while a small number of genetic mutations have been identified as causing some forms, for the majority of cases the cause is uncertain.
It has just been reported that a team of American and South Korean scientists have successfully used CRISPR, a tool that cuts DNA with more precision than any other genome editing technology, to fix a genetic defect in human embryos that can cause serious heart problems. Continue reading “An introduction to gene editing”
In the 1940s the well-known British vet James Herriot administered the brand-new antibiotic penicillin to a sick animal and the amazing, speedy recovery that followed was in his words “like witnessing a miracle”. Barely 70 years later, I got an infection in a caesarean wound and I was terrified that these miracle drugs would not work anymore.