An international team of researchers led by investigators at Nebraska Medical Center has done exactly this—they used CRISPR gene editing to alter a patient’s genes, removing traces of heritable DNA that normally would have gone to the fetus. The work suggests that gene editing may be useful for treating mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. The research team, a team led by Jennifer Rojas, assistant professor, worked with tissue biopsies from 7 patients who experienced silent sleep disturbance, which is difficult to treat.
“Once we see a change in the structure of the chromosomes and a change in the number of chromosomes, either due to changes in the genome itself or in the amyloid plaques that are lodged around areas of affected areas, it becomes more and more difficult to treat,” said Chris Ernst, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and a biomedical engineering and integrative physiology professor at Medicaid. Research Columbia is the lead institution of the Confederate Health and Education Research Institutes (CHARDI), one of 14 NIH-funded research and medical institutions supported by the National Institutes of Health.
“We have used CRISPR gene editing to alter a patient’s chromosomes. Now we are trying to use this to treat people suffering from psychiatric disorders and some other types of sleep disorders” says a press release from Mercy Medical Center. Listen to a sermon about the study on VR Talk.