Investing in CRISPR
These Are the Most Important Stocks You'll Ever Buy
It's been dubbed the next big biotech breakthrough...
A technology called CRISPR that could essentially end nearly every disease known to man... forever.
I'm talking heart disease, cancer, diabetes — you name it.
The interesting thing about CRISPR, however, is that it doesn't actually cure these diseases. It eliminates them entirely from our genetic code.
This is truly next-generation stuff, and we've definitely taken advantage of this technology by honing in on a number of biotech stocks that are making all of this possible. Many of these stocks have done very well over the past year and still have plenty of steam left in them.
However, last week, a number of these stocks took a nasty hit after two new studies suggested that while CRISPR can help eliminate disease from our genetic code, it could also cause cancer.
This was the basic takeaway from the studies, and the media jumped all over it.
To be sure, these studies should not be taken lightly. After all, we still are in the earliest stages of CRISPR development, and, of course, we still have a lot to learn.
That being said, there was quite a bit left out of these stories, and that caused a lot of investors to unload shares of some very valuable companies.
The Devil is in the Details
While headlines like "CRISPR Causes Cancer" got a lot of coverage, the truth is, such headlines were misleading. And while those easily spooked by mainstream media hacks made investment decisions based on poor intelligence, the smart money was buying.
It may not be the stuff of headlines, but while hyperbolic headlines were trending on Twitter and Facebook, the researchers who published the results of those new studies told those who would listen that the studies were very early stage and presented only "preliminary results." A co-leader of one of the studies said it's still unclear if the findings translate into cells actually used in current clinical studies.
To give you a better idea of what the studies found, here's a snippet from an excellent review from the folks over at Futurism:
You know already about the promise for CRISPR — it might revolutionize fields from medicine to agriculture.
It might also eventually cause tumors.
That’s the takeaway from two new studies, published Monday in Nature Medicine. Both studies, one by Novartis and the other by the Karolinska Institute, focus on the gene p53, known to play a major role in tumor prevention by killing cells with damaged DNA. According to past research, most human tumors simply can’t form if p53 is working properly — some researchers refer to it as the “guardian of the genome.”
Unfortunately, p53 is also something of a natural defense against the kinds of changes to the genome made by CRISPR. When researchers use CRISPR to snip and replace some DNA, p53 jumps into action, causing the edited cells to self-destruct. This renders the CRISPR edit essentially moot, which could explain why CRISPR isn’t terribly efficient.
Here’s the issue. When a CRISPR edit does stick, that could mean the cell’s p53 isn’t functioning the way it’s supposed to. And dysfunctional p53 may be a precursor to a host of cancers, such as those in the ovaries, colon and rectum, and the esophagus.
“By picking cells that have successfully repaired the damaged gene we intended to fix, we might inadvertently also pick cells without functional p53,” Emma Haapaniemi, one of the authors of the Karolinska study, said in a press release. “If transplanted into a patient, as in gene therapy for inherited diseases, such cells could give rise to cancer, raising concerns for the safety of CRISPR-based gene therapies.”
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As you can imagine, this is certainly enough to send investors running. But CRISPR analyst Kristin Houser noted something that's been left out of the conversation regarding these two new studies:
The studies focus on just one type of CRISPR edit: replacing disease-causing DNA with healthy DNA (“gene correction”) using CRISPR. While Cas9 is the most well-known CRISPR enzyme, there are others — Cpf1, for example — and we don’t yet know if they’d cause the same issues with p53.
We can also use CRISPR to simply knock out disease-causing DNA without replacing it (“gene modification”). This type of edit can stick even when p53 is functional, Haapaniemi noted. That’s the type of genetic change at the center of a number of high-profile CRISPR projects: CRISPR Therapeutics’ sickle-cell and thalassemia trials, Editas Medicine’s research to address blindness, and the University of Pennsylvania’s tumor-targeting T-cell research — the first trial of CRISPR in humans in the U.S.
I realize some of this may sound a bit confusing, but the bottom line is that the development of CRISPR technology has never been stronger — and more lucrative.
It's sad that so many mainstream financial media outlets never analyze the details of these types of studies. They're just looking for a quick headline and traffic to their websites. Great for them, but horrible for the investors who need accurate and up-to-date intelligence on the industries in which they invest.
And this is why I put together an updated investment dispatch on CRISPR and four of the companies that are in line to get the lion's share of profits from this biotech breakthrough. You can get access to this dispatch by clicking this link.
You can also check out this recent white paper I published that shows — in great detail — how CRISPR technology works, and, of course, the CRISPR stocks that we're currently covering.
Make no mistake: CRISPR is absolutely a biotech breakthrough of epic proportions. Investing in this space today would be like investing in the companies that first made all the vaccines we take for granted today. It's that big of a deal.
Heck, even if you don't want to invest in CRISPR stocks, you should at least take a moment to learn about CRISPR, as it could end up being the very thing that could one day save your life.
Again, it's that important.
To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth...
@JeffSiegel on Twitter
Jeff is the founder and managing editor of Green Chip Stocks, a private investment community that capitalizes on opportunities in alternative energy, organic food markets, legal cannabis, and socially responsible investing. He has been a featured guest on Fox, CNBC, and Bloomberg Asia, and is the author of the best-selling book, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor's page.
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