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Two years ago, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania showed for the first time that it was safe and feasible to infuse cancer patients with millions of their own immune cells that had been edited with the DNA-snipping technology known as CRISPR. To make them more efficient tumor torpedoes, scientists added a single synthetic receptor that locks on to a molecule produced by many types of cancer.

Now, a team led by the Bay Area-based biotech PACT Pharma and researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have infused individualized cocktails of CRISPR-edited immune cells into 16 cancer patients with minimal and manageable side effects. Each one received a custom mixture of T cells carrying new receptors tuned to their specific tumors.

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