Australia is about to become the first country in the world to cure cervical cancer .
Researchers from Griffith University in Queensland used a powerful gene-editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9, to cure cervical cancer in mice .
The team used the CRISPR-Cas9 to target and treat cervical cancer tumours via injection, using ‘stealth’ nanoparticles .
It is believed that the same technology could be used to treat cervical cancer in humans.
According to the leader of the team, Professor Nigel McMillan, ” This is the first cure for any cancer using this technology. ”
Professor McMillan explained: “The nanoparticles search out the cancer-causing gene in cancer cells and ‘edit it’ by introducing some extra DNA that causes the gene to be misread and stop being made.
“This is like adding a few extra letters into a word, so the spell checker doesn’t recognise it ‘anyTTmore’. Because the cancer must have this gene to produce, once edited the cancer dies.
“In our study, the treated mice have 100% survival and no tumours.
“The mice showed no other clinical signs such as inflammation from treatment but there may be other gene changes we haven’t measured yet.
“Other cancers can be treated once we know the right genes.”
Though the technology was used successfully in mice, it is still unclear if it will have the same effect in humans .
Despite this, the researchers say that they’re working towards human trials of the gene therapy ‘in the next five years.’
“There are still many steps to go through before we get to the clinic stage, but I think this really proves that gene editing is going to be proved to be useful,” Professor McMillan said
The study was published in Molecular Therapy.