CRISPR is now used to edit mutations which cause heart failure
The use of gene editing tools are now being utilised by scientists in order to eradicate potential, hereditary diseases. Mutations within human embryos are being ‘cut’ out through the use of the CRISPR tool, and in this case, has been able to eradicate heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 42 embryos.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one of the most common inherited heart diseases, which can result in sudden cardiac fatalities for patients with the unknowing hereditary trait.
Although enabling an embryo with ‘edited’ human DNA to become a full-term baby has been outlawed globally, it is a huge breakthrough for scientists who wish to eradicate potential hereditary diseases which can impact a patient’s quality of life. There is now increased hope to source and eradicate diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
“They’ve got remarkably good results, it’s a big advance.” said Richard Hynes, a geneticist at MIT. “This brings it closer to clinic, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
With clinical research will have to abide by strict regulatory hurdles, especially within the US and the UK. Embryos used in the study were terminated at five days.
- The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has released its Brexit plan
- Scientists in the US have edited the DNA of human embryos for the first time
- Comment: Internet of Things will revolutionise how healthcare is delivered
George Annas, Director of the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at Boston University’s School of Public Health has condemned the move. “This is unethical human experimentation on the resulting child, and because this change is in the child’s germline, the experiment will continue for generations—including at least the resulting child’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Neither the child nor any of his or her own children can, of course, consent to be part of this risky experiment,” he says.
“If we want to avoid turning babies into manufactured products, changing the nature of what it means to be human, and perhaps developing a superior race that could see us as subhuman, we need to outlaw the use of genetic editing technology on human embryos.
The agenda to control human evolution and the genetics of our children cannot be left to a subgroup of scientists who cannot control themselves.”
With this in mind, Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a researcher at Oregon Health & Science University has stated that he is aware of the ongoing ethical debates of gene editing and where it will lead, stating that regulations will need to be made clearer, otherwise “this technology will be shifted to unregulated areas, which shouldn't be happening.”
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”