Looking into the future has always fascinated me.
So much so that it basically became my job.
After all, what is investing but identifying where industries and companies will be in the future and what they will be worth?
We talk all the time here in MoneyWire about the future… of 5G and wireless networking, electric and self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, robotics and more.
But the one that gets me the most is healthcare.
In just the last few days, we got word of a game-changer that will save lives, eradicate much suffering and make investors money.
That’s why it literally gave me chills…
Imaging not just treating symptoms of a terrible disease but curing it.
Now imagine doing that with not just one disease but tens of thousands of diseases, including cancer.
We got a glimpse of the promise of gene editing a few days ago. And while I have followed gene editing for some time now, this latest achievement is groundbreaking.
There have been stories about some of the people involved in the trial. One is a man named Patrick Doherty who lives in Ireland.
For most of his 65 years on the planet, he had been very active until about a year-and-a-half ago. He started getting short of breath just walking his dog. He felt pins and needles in his fingers and toes. His feet were cold a lot.
The diagnosis was transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR), which was particularly devastating to him. ATTR had killed his father. And two uncles. And some neighbors.
And today? He says he feels fantastic, thanks to an experimental gene-editing treatment.
The therapy is mind blowing. It is injected into the patient, and it is able to hunt down the misshapen proteins that cause the disease and fix — or “edit” — the genes to stop producing them.
What makes this one extra mind blowing is that it is all done inside the body, or in vivo in medical terms. Most gene-editing platforms make the changes to the gene outside the body and then reinject. That’s great, too. But doing it all inside the body is like having a disease-fighting army guided by GPS to go right to the battle and win it.
The editing technology is called CRISPR, which is short for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.” (Definitely easier to stick with CRISPR, which we can pronounce “crisper.”)
Over the past eight years or so, a small group of scientists working at different institutes have made incredible progress in this revolutionary new field.
The first step is to map the patient’s genome, and the next is to identify the mutated gene(s). Once mutations are found, a protein (Cas9) is used to identify the sequence where the mutated gene will either be edited (Cut & Revise in the chart below), deleted (Cut & Remove) or replaced (Cut & Replace).
CRISPR could be the weapon that one day eliminates diseases that currently have no cure, like sickle cell disease. It’s a disorder in which a person lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body. It is caused by one genetic mutation — one “misspelled letter” of DNA.
It is what’s called a “monogenic disease.” According to the World Health Organization, there are 10,000 known monogenic diseases. Others include cystic fibrosis, hemophilia and Huntington’s disease. If this one bad gene can be replaced, it could essentially wipe out tens of thousands of diseases.
Companies are also researching CRISPR as a possible cancer treatment. One is developing gene-edited CAR-T cell therapies, where the company takes T-cells (immune cells) from a patient’s blood, changes them in a lab, and essentially programs them to target the cancer cells.
With off-the-charts potential to help us all live healthier and longer lives, you can imagine the investment potential along with it.
The company behind the latest announcement, Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTLA), rocketed higher on the news.
I recommended Intellia nearly three years ago in my Early Stage Investor service, and we took the opportunity to lock in combined profits of over 360%.
I told my readers that the company still has huge upside potential during the Roaring 2020s. But locking in big gains isn’t about that. It’s about being smart. And there is absolutely no reason we couldn’t get back in, as this trend is still very early in its stages.
It is beyond exciting to think about what’s coming. We don’t get many chances to invest in a once-in-a-lifetime, game-changing medical breakthrough like gene therapy. We need to take full advantage.
On the date of publication, Matthew McCall did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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