Morceaux choisis d’une interview de Jennifer Doudna, co-lauréate avec la française Emmanuelle Charpentier, du prix Nobel de chimie 2020, pour la technologie d’édition du génome Cirspr-Cas9, les fameux “ciseaux moléculaires ». L’interview, disponible en podcast, a été réalisée par Michael Chui pour le Mac Kinsey Global Institute, en juin 2020.
- Reécrire le code de la vie. “If the information in a gene or a handful of genes needs to be changed, this tool, CRISPR, can do that. It’s been an extraordinary opportunity for scientists to understand genetics at a much deeper level than was possible previously, and to rewrite the code of life, and rewrite genes in a way that gives us control over cells and organisms, with remarkable outcomes ».
- De gigantesques enjeux pour l’agriculture. “Probably the largest global impact of genome editing, in the next few years, will likely be in agriculture. And the reason is that there’s so much need for engineering plants that will allow introduction of traits to deal with climate change, pests, reduced application of chemical fertilizers and things like that. Having a technology that allows targeted changes to be made to plant genomes is, in fact, very powerful“.
- L’espoir de soigner les maladies génétiques. “Certainly in biomedical science, there’s such an interesting opportunity right now with genome editing to think about ways that one could mitigate or even cure genetic diseases, and that’s not a pipe dream anymore. I think it’s just on the horizon, which is extraordinary“.
- L’accès à tous . “One thing I’ve been thinking about is how we can ensure that this technology is widely available. How do you do that? It has to begin with the scientists and the science. From the very beginning, we have to ask ourselves, “How do we ensure that all of the steps for application of this technology are as affordable and accessible as possible?” In the case of sickle-cell disease and other blood disorders, one way that challenge could be met is to introduce the edited cells into patients without requiring a bone marrow transplant“.
- Vers un nouveau modèle de santé publique ? “It does raise the question of coming up with a completely different model for how we think about therapeutics and how we pay for them. One idea that’s been floated—and I don’t know if this will catch on or not—is an installment plan, like how we have a mortgage on our house. Maybe we eventually have a similar thing on our health for a one-time therapy that is curative of a disease. It’s expensive, but the way it gets paid out is just over time. It’s effectively an investment that’s made in someone’s lifelong health. You could imagine insurance companies changing their model to accommodate that kind of system, where we could ensure that people who need a one-time but expensive treatment for a rare disease, so there wouldn’t be any large number of people for any one of these rare diseases that would need this particular treatment. But if they do it’s there, and the payment occurs over an extended period of time ».
- Le génome, cet inconnu. “The genome is very complex. There’s a lot of ways that genetic information is used that is still being figured out. And certainly the functions of genes in the context of an environment of the influences that an organism has that are external to the genome are still being sorted out. Just the knowledge of the genome, frankly, continues to be one of the limitations on using this technology».
- Les promesses de la biologie computationelle. “What we’re going to see over the next decade or so is that the intersection of biology, information science, and computer science will affect us in ways that we couldn’t have imagined previously, or maybe can’t even imagine today. We’re going to see biological solutions to problems that, in the past, seemingly had nothing to do with biology. Whether it’s in industrial chemistry or solving problems that relate to climate change and pollution around the world, dealing with the issues of populations facing this current pandemic“.