You might have heard of DNA editing before – maybe through its potential for its therapeutic technique on people or its more controversial side through gene editing. DNA editing is by no means a recent discovery as its first developments date back to 2011, but since then a lot has been promised without the expected results.
Its slow progress since its discovery parts from the fact that DNA editing is way more difficult than we initially thought. Some enzymes used in the CRISPR system could trigger an immune response in the body, or accidents in treatment could cause accidental changes to the genome that would be permanent for the patient. As it turns out, It is possible that we have been looking in the wrong direction, as recent research in RNA editing could be taking off with numerous benefits and fewer risks than DNA alterations.
From recent research, RNA editing is a method that requires less invasive methods on the body and greatly decreases the risk on the patient side. Since RNA is temporary protein as compared to DNA and its main purpose in the body is to work as a messenger regulating certain body processes at a cellular level, it could allow clinicians to make short and temporary fixes that eliminate mutations in protein or change the way they work with specific organs and tissues.
Cells can quickly degrade RNAs, this means that any error in the therapy can be wiped out rather than staying with the person forever. Already some organizations are showing great interest in potential RNA treatments, which could develop into cures for genetic diseases or temporary afflictions such as acute pain while reducing risks on the patient.
RNA editing technology is in its infancy and there’s still a long way to go before we would advocate for the use of RNA editing in medicine, but seeing the major implications such a technology could have, it’s worth informing you about it and keeping an eye on its development.