By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
Timeline Story

Eradicating Diabetes: A Gene Editing Revolution

Eradicating Diabetes: A Gene Editing Revolution

From Year 0 (BCE/CE): 2034
Post Date: 05/15/2024

In the coming decades, and I predict as soon as 2034, scientists will successfully deploy gene editing technologies like CRISPR to essentially cure diabetes.

Analysis: With gene editing therapies like the treatment for sickle cell already approved by the FDA and in use worldwide, it’s not a matter of if, but when. The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines using genetic editing technology in 2020 demonstrated the power of this approach. The global success and acceptance of these vaccines have paved the way for further innovation. Given the high priority of diabetes, I predict it will be a key target. Hence the aggressive timeline of within a decade.

For type 2 diabetes, researchers have identified genetic targets like the GCK and HNF1A genes, which play critical roles in monogenic forms of diabetes, including MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young). Specifically, they target the INS gene, responsible for insulin production, and the SLC30A8 gene, linked to glucose regulation and insulin secretion. Additionally, efforts focus on enhancing insulin sensitivity and secretion through modifications in genes like TCF7L2 and PPARG. This approach aims to treat existing diabetes and engineer genetic resistance against the disease in high-risk populations.

For Type 1 diabetes, advancements focus on editing immune system genes to prevent the autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. Through genetic testing, doctors can identify individuals with specific variants of genes like HLA-DR3, HLA-DR4 (particularly in white people), and HLA-DR7 (in African Americans) that increase susceptibility to the disease. CRISPR is then used to precisely edit these genes in immune system cells, potentially reducing their ability to mistakenly attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This approach will be most effective when combined with other preventative measures to create a comprehensive strategy for stopping type 1 diabetes before it starts as well as largely reversing its effects for the affected.

4 Minutes with Mike Prestwood: Weekly Wisdom Builder
May 26, 2024 Edition
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