Cholesterol gene editing could stop the biggest killer on earth

According to the company, that small edit is enough to permanently lower a person’s level of “bad” LDL cholesterol, the fat molecule that clogs arteries and hardens over time.

The New Zealand patient has a genetic risk for extremely high cholesterol and already has heart disease. However, the company believes the same technique could eventually be used on millions of people to prevent cardiovascular disease.

“If this works and is safe, this is the answer to a heart attack,” said Sekar Kathiresan, a genomics researcher who founded Verve three years ago and is the company’s CEO. this is the cure.

It’s been 10 years since scientists developed CRISPR, a technology that makes targeted changes to the DNA in cells, but so far the method has only been tested on people with certain diseases. as rare as sickle cell anemia and only as part of exploratory trials.

Sek Kathiresan, CEO of Verve
Sekar Kathiresan, a cardiologist and geneticist, is the CEO of Verve


If Verve’s test works, it could signal broader use of gene editing to prevent common conditions. The world’s large population has very high LDL, but many cannot control it. Worldwide, more people die from cardiovascular disease from atherosclerosis than from anything else.

“Of all the different genome editing processes going on in the clinic, this one may have the most profound impact because of the sheer number of them,” said Eric Topol, cardiologist and researcher at Scripps Research. number of people who could benefit”.

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