A group of scientists have used CRISPR-gene editing methods to create a skin graft capable of reducing the symptoms of diabetes and obesity in mice.
It could be a step toward creating a much safer and cheaper form of gene therapy than currently common techniques. If the technique works on humans, edited genes delivered through skin grafts could treat a wide range of conditions.
The CRISPR method of gene editing has shown a great deal of promise for quickly and precisely "editing" patches of DNA. But gene therapy for humans using common current methods carries some risks, said Xiaoyang Wu, assistant professor at the University of Chicago's Ben May Department for Cancer Research.
"Compared with other ways to introduce genes into humans, this is much safer and more affordable for delivery," Wu told CNBC in an interview.
One typical technique, for example, involves delivering altered genes through viruses, which carries at least two major risks. First, a virus may prompt an immune response, which can be dangerous, or even fatal.