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HomeHealthF.D.A. Panel Deems CRISPR Sickle Cell Cure Safe for Patient Use

F.D.A. Panel Deems CRISPR Sickle Cell Cure Safe for Patient Use

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A panel of experts announced on Tuesday that a groundbreaking treatment for sickle cell disease has been deemed safe for clinical use. This paves the way for potential federal approval by December 8th for a powerful cure for a disease that affects over 100,000 Americans. The treatment, called exa-cel and developed jointly by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, has been found effective by the Food and Drug Administration. The panel’s conclusion on its safety has now been submitted to the FDA for a final decision on its approval for widespread patient use. If approved, exa-cel will be the first medicine to treat a genetic disease using the CRISPR gene-editing technique. Another potential cure for sickle cell, a gene therapy developed by Bluebird Bio, will also be decided upon by the FDA by December 20th. Sickle cell disease is a deadly illness caused by a gene mutation, primarily affecting individuals with African ancestry and causing debilitating symptoms. New treatments like exa-cel offer hope for a cure, but come at a high cost and present challenges for patients and their families. Despite the difficulties associated with these treatments, many doctors and parents are excited about the prospect of broad access to cures for sickle cell disease. However, it is anticipated that the new therapies will be sought by a limited number of people, potentially due to trust issues within the healthcare system, particularly among Black Americans who have often been underserved in terms of preventive and therapeutic care. Nonetheless, there is optimism surrounding the future treatment options for sickle cell disease, which have the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients.

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