A potential cure for two inherited blood diseases using gene therapy has been authorised by Britain’s medicine regulator in a world first.
The treatment, Casgevy, for sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia, is the first to be licensed using the gene-editing tool known as Crispr – which earned its inventors a Nobel Prize in 2020.
That the treatment exists is wondrous and that it’s authorised is good. That it costs £1 million a pop isn’t so good but give it 15 years (-ish) for the patent to run out and it’ll drop to £50k a pop or whatever. For a one-time treatment that cures a genetic problem. Excellent, the world gets better every day.
The amusement? We’re the first to approve a treatment for diseases which – before the mass immigration of the past couple of decades – pretty much didn’t exist in Britain. They’re pretty strongly – to very strongly in fact – linked to, respectively, West African or Mediterranean genetic background. Still a good thing, it just does amuse.