August 2017 Review with Nathan and Laura: CAR-T Cashes In, Embryos Edited in US, and the Invitae Incident


Guests:

Laura Hercher, Genetic Counselor, Sarah Lawrence College

Nathan Pearson, Genomicist

Chapters:

0:00 First gene therapy approved in the US: CAR-T’s big coming out party

8:00 First gene editing of embryos in the US

15:42 Not the first screw up in genetic testing in the US: Invitae’s big slip

Back from summer vacation, Nathan and Laura are smoking hot as they look back over some exciting headlines.

The summer boiled over with plenty to talk about, but it was just this week that delivered most of the news for our discussion today. Novartis’ gene therapy based on CAR-T technology was approved Wednesday, making it the first gene therapy to be approved ever in the US. Analysts will be trying to figure out how high high is when it comes to the price tag, but Nathan and Laura explain why this therapy is a big deal for patients.

As for the first gene editing of embryos in the US that happened earlier in August? Nathan says, yes, it’s a first, but the big story is how "strikingly reliable the CRISPR edit is in germline vs the rest of the body."

Finally, we heard a few days ago that genetic testing provider, Invitae (recently featured here on the program) had sent out a large batch of false negative tests. Laura, a genetic counselor, says that in the absence of FDA regulation the system is operating on trust.

“And I want to say,” she adds, “ I trust Invitae. They’re a good lab, and I think they’re handling this well.”

 



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