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3 Gene Editing Approaches for Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a perfect candidate for gene editing. It is perhaps the best understood single-gene condition, due to a substitution of a single DNA base in the gene that encodes the beta subunit of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood.

Red blood cells, which bend into the sickle shape in the disease, obstructing circulation and causing excruciating pain, descend from hematopoietic (“blood-forming”) stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow. So theoretically, a patient’s stem cells can be removed, the mutation replaced in them, and then the fixed cells infused back into the patient, circumventing an immune response.