Scientists have created genetically-engineered mice with artificial human chromosomes in every cell of their bodies, as part of a series of studies showing that it may be possible to treat genetic diseases with a radically new form of gene therapy.
Unlike conventional gene therapy techniques up to this point, the new process behind building these gene structures produces a 47th chromosome that does not interfere with the normal operations of the regular 46 set.
As described by Dr. Kouprina of the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland who is involved with the project, “The idea is to take skin cells from a patient, turn them into stem cells and insert human artificial chromosomes (HACs) into these stem cells with healthy copies of the disease gene. These cells, with the extra chromosome, can then be inserted back into the patient to treat the illness.”
I cannot even begin to fathom the potential this has to treat hereditary illnesses and beyond.