CALE Research –  Centre for Law and Genetics and Menzies partnership

CALE Research – Centre for Law and Genetics and Menzies partnership

CRISPR is a protein system
that’s used by bacteria to fight-off viruses,
and essentially that has now been adapted to work
in mammalian cells, such that we can now edit
the genome with very high fidelity;
and this opens the prospect of therapeutic interventions
for inherited diseases. We’ve been actively applying
CRISPR to the study of inherited eye diseases for the past
three years, and it’s been very productive;
we were one of the first teams to successfully apply this to
the eye of an adult mammal. Being a clinician, one
of the big barriers to translating this research
is being able to navigate the regulatory framework
to appropriately apply leading technologies,
and so here at the University of Tasmania we’re very fortunate
to have a very active legal research team who are interested
in the application of genomic technologies.
There’s still a long way to go until this could be really
routinely done in the clinic, but it’s happening,
and it’s happening at such an enormous pace. So there
is a big task in terms of law, in terms of research ethics,
and in terms of understanding how they get into the clinic —
how they get into the mainstream health care system.
So I’m really excited about the prospect of us being able
to be involved in these debates, and getting it right.

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