Alexander Says Gene Editing Technology, When Used Properly, Has The Potential To Transform Human Health

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander on Tuesday said that “gene editing technology, like CRISPR-cas9, has the potential to transform human health, when used properly.”

He said, “CRISPR is a form of gene editing that essentially uses molecules that can be targeted to act as scissors to cut and edit genes. In a way, it is like cutting and pasting in a computer document. That may be an oversimplification, but this technology is less expensive, more precise, and more readily available to scientists all over the world than other gene editing technologies.

“The most widespread use until now has been in agriculture, to create disease-resistant wheat and rice, and modify tomatoes and soybeans to improve yields. CRISPR’s use in humans is more recent, but the possibility of the diseases it could treat and the lives that could be improved is remarkable.

“This includes diseases that currently have limited treatments or cures.

Researchers see the possibility of treating blood diseases and sickle cell disease, improving the amount of time immune cells are active in fighting tumors, or even identifying, and then treating, a predisposition to Alzheimer’s.

“While CRISPR has amazing potential, it is not hard to see how we can quickly get into societal and ethical issues. The technology could lead to permanent changes to the human genome, and there is even the possibility of making changes in embryos to create so-called ‘designer babies.’ And in the hands of our adversaries, CRISPR poses national security concerns through the potential to produce new biological weapons.

“Part of our job on this committee is to learn about new technologies, to lead discussions with experts about the implications of these scientific advancements and to ensure that the National Institutes of Health and others have the proper authority to oversee and conduct research.”

The committee held a hearing on Tuesday on CRISPR to learn more about the technology from expert witnesses. Witnesses included Dr. Matthew Porteus, associate professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University; Katrine Bosley, chief executive officer and president of Editas Medicine; and Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics at John Hopkins School of Public Health.

Alexander’s full remarks are here. 


Erlanger’s Believe Bash Makes Waves In Chattanooga On April 6

Health Department Urges Residents To Test For Radon In Their Homes

Erlanger’s Ortho, Neurosurgery/Spine Programs Nationally Recognized


Erlanger’s third annual Believe Bash will be held Saturday, April 6, at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Proceeds from this year’s underwater themed gala event will benefit the Children’s Hospital ... (click for more)

In observance of National Radon Action Month, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department would like area residents to know how they can get a free test kit for their home and what they ... (click for more)

Erlanger Health System’s Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery and Spine programs have been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as among the Top 100 programs in the nation. Becker’s Hospital Review ... (click for more)


Living Well

Erlanger’s Believe Bash Makes Waves In Chattanooga On April 6

Erlanger’s third annual Believe Bash will be held Saturday, April 6, at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Proceeds from this year’s underwater themed gala event will benefit the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. “This year’s event promises to be an evening of underwater enchantment,” said Lynda Minks Hood, who is co-chairing Erlanger’s black tie gala with Tracie LaSar, Judy Spiegel ... (click for more)

Health Department Urges Residents To Test For Radon In Their Homes

In observance of National Radon Action Month, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department would like area residents to know how they can get a free test kit for their home and what they can do to reduce their exposure. There is no safe level of radon exposure. “Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is invisible, odorless, and tasteless,” said Sabrina Novak, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

2nd Man Charged In October 2018 Murder Of Jacob Dakota Moore Of Apison

A second arrest has been made in the October 2018 murder of Jacob Dakota Moore of Apison. Authorities earlier charged Askia Witherow in the slaying. On Thursday, warrants were issued for James David Robinson, 42, charging him with one count of first-degree murder, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, four counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts ... (click for more)

Linda Damewood Killed, Another Critical, Third Injured In Shooting At Crossville

One person was killed, another critically injured and a third hurt in a shooting at Crossville on Saturday. Linda Damewood, 74, of Crossville, was dead at the scene. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Tansi Security, and Tennessee Highway Patrol units responded to 8610 Cherokee Trail at approximately 6:38 p.m. to a reported shooting. Cumberland County Sheriff’s ... (click for more)

Opinion

Senator Alexander: A Reasonable Proposal To End The Government Shutdown

A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. Members of Congress should first remember that when a president who has been duly elected by the people of the United States -- whatever you may think of him or her -- has a legitimate objective, it is our responsibility to do everything ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Swimming With Jim Morgan

I’ve never talked much about this – it is too close to bragging – but in my teenaged years I was a good swimmer. I loved being in the water and maybe the greatest compliment back in the day was when new UT swimming coach Ray Bussard offered me a ‘full ride’ with the Vols. Are you kidding me … by then I was into tobacco, alcohol, convertibles, and girls in angora sweaters - there ... (click for more)