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scientific articles

A CRISPR Focus on Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Somatic Genome Editing From Stakeholders Within the Sickle Cell Disease Community

key information

source: Genetics in Medicine

year: 2019

authors: Persaud A, Desine S, Blizinsky K, Bonham VL



Genome editing holds both tremendous therapeutic promise and significant potential risk. Sickle cell disease (SCD), the most commonly inherited blood disorder, is a frontline candidate for the clinical applications of this tool. However, there is limited knowledge of patient community values and concerns regarding this new technology. This study aims to investigate the perspectives of three key decision-makers (patients, parents, and physicians) toward participation in future CRISPR-mediated somatic genome editing clinical trials.


We utilized a mixed-methods approach, involving an educational video tool, two-part survey, and 15 moderated, audio-recorded focus groups, which were conducted in seven U.S. cities.


Study participants expressed hope that genome editing technology would rechart the course for SCD, but concerns related to involvement burden, uncertainty of clinical outcomes, and equity in access were identified. Major themes emerged from the focus groups: facilitators of, and barriers to, participation in future somatic genome editing clinical trials; information pertinent to the decision-making process; persons from whom participants would seek counsel before making a decision; and recommendations for the research community on meaningful engagement as clinical trials are designed and approved.


The advent of genome editing has renewed hope for the SCD community, but caution tempers this optimism.

organization: National Institutes of Health, USA; Rush University Medical Center, USA

DOI: 10.1038/s41436-018-0409-6

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