As 2018 begins, STAT reporters are taking a look at the stories they’re most eager to track this year. Find all our “three to watch” series here

Biotechnology is an ever-evolving field, with advances coming at us at a breakneck pace.

And this past year was historic, as it saw some cutting-edge biotech drugs move from the lab to the clinic. The first-ever gene therapy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat a pediatric blood cancer. The CAR-T drug, called Kymriah and marketed by Novartis (NVS), is made by genetically reengineering a patient’s own immune cells to target his or her cancer. Two other gene therapies quickly followed suit: another CAR-T drug from Gilead Sciences (GILD) and a drug from Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) that corrects a rare inherited form of blindness.

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