Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR), is a new technology of modifying human genetic. A doctoral student, Nilofar Farhan and an assistant professor in bioengineering, Robby Bowles, from the the University of Utah are among a team that have come up with a way to prevent chronic pain. They have modulated gene that reduce tissue and cell damaging infalamation, therefore achieving the latter.
According to Robby Bowles, the discovery can be applied in many inflammatory caused diseases. He names arthritis and thareuptic cell being delivered to inflammatory environment that need protection from inflammation as the possible application of their discovery. Inflammation is nature’s or body’s way of communicating to the immune system of the need to repair damaged cells or attack infection causing pathogens.
Based on the definition of CRISPR, Robby and his team are using the tool differently. Instead of modifying genetics, they are using the tool to turn on and off what the cells should relay to your system, therefore protecting them from inflammation. Incase a patient is suffering from chronic pains, the doctor will administer the gene through injection, which will stop further degeneration of tissues. It will stop the need to have continuous surgeries incase of back pains. However, Robby stated that some patients may need another surgery but the discovery would reduce the frequency in which the surgery needs to be performed. The team have already developed a virus that can deliver the gene therapy and they are hoping to proceed to human trail if they get positive results. According to Robby, it may take up to ten years before the method is used by doctors. It is quite a relief to people suffering from joint pain or back pains as they are a nuisance before they are treated.