CRISPR injection into blood – Genes for short sleep – Malaria free China

Malaria free china

Malaria-free China

Now it is official that China is free of mosquitoes causing malaria. It has been a journey to come to this front from 30 million cases in 1940 to zero in 2017. China has become the 40th country to join the league of malaria-free nations- Some of the effective strategies followed by china are:

  • In 1950s: Wide program to distribute antimalarial medicines for people at risk
  • In 1960s: Program to identify antimalarial drugs. As part of the initiative, chemist Tu Youyou isolated artemisinin from Artemisia Annua (sweet, warm wood) and won Noble Prize
  • In 1980s: Pioneered in using Insecticide-treated mosquito net
  • 2012: Initiated 1-3-7 strategy. One day to report a malaria diagnosis, three days to investigate, and seven days to take countermeasures.

China breaks the transmission link between Anopheles Mosquito and humans by developing genetic-based approaches to identify drug resistance, indigenous and imported cases.

CRISPR shots into blood

CRISPR shots – To treat genetic disease

We are in the age of new technology for health care – we developed the vaccine in few months. We have a new study that reported that CRISPR injection into the blood could treat genetic disorders. The interesting timeline of scientific advances continues.

It is a massive leap in gene-editing technology. The most common method to treat using CRISPR is isolating the cells and editing in-vitro (outside body) and then injecting into the patient again. But, using CRISPR in-vivo is like delivering the entire gene editing assembly into the cell.

The study lead by researchers from the University College of London (UCL) injected the gene-editing assemblies (CRISPR) into the blood of 6 patients with a genetic condition called Transthyretin amyloidosis. The congenital defect in TTR gene coding misfolded Transthyretin protein in the liver results in amyloidosis. The abnormal deposits of proteins lose the sensation in the body extremities.

The gene-editing assemblies (mRNA’s) encased in lipid particles were taken up by liver cells quickly. The cellular machinery cut and edited the genetic mutations stopping the production of misfolded proteins.

Three individuals who got high dosage showed improvements in the symptoms leading to progress using this approach. There is an 80 -96 percent drop in misfolded TTR protein levels after 28 days of treatment.

Jennifer Doudna, A recent Nobel Laureate for her discovery of CRISPR, opinioned science magazine that this research showed a way of using CRISPR to edit the gene which causes disease anywhere in the body.


Gene for Short Sleep

A gene for short sleep & yet remain active – is a boon

A night of deep sleep is the time when the neurotoxins accumulated in the brain are cleansed. Hence we feel relieved, comfortable after deep sleep. I guess sleep is also an art, and people who get sleep are so fortunate. It is deplorable that many chemicals are being taken these days to get sleep. In this fast-paced world, deep comfortable sleep of 6 – 8 hours is a great boon. There should be some emphasis on our routine before we go to bed –to get relaxed and start the next day fresh. In contrast, we encounter few people who are short sleepers.

It is not very often that we find people who sleep late, wake up early – and remain super active. There are genes associated with such circadian rhythms. The mutations like DEC2, ADRB1, NPSR1 alter neurotransmitters in the brain to create short sleep.

The researcher’s bread mice with the same genetic mutations saw no abnormal physical activity to relate the gene functions, where the mice slept for few hours with no adverse effects. Researchers also opinioned that 90% – 95% of people who have these mutations ( participants of this study) have phenomenal memories. The short sleepers are ambitious, incredibility optimistic – it is not easy for them to do nothing.

More details to be uncovered on the patterns of sleep and related genetic associations.