Harvard biologist David Liu has developed a new class of DNA base editors that can switch a single letter of DNA with another, OZY reports. That could open the door to treatments — and possibly cures — for thousands of diseases caused by one small “typo” in DNA. It’s a new iteration of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR that Liu hopes could help tackle diseases as diverse as anemia and childhood diabetes.
What’s the challenge? Bringing this technology from animal trials to human ones is a complicated process requiring “bulletproof” biology, and even after it’s proven safe and effective, FDA approval could take years.