Super-precise gene-editing approach switches off a gene in the liver that regulates ‘bad’ cholesterol.

The first trial in humans of the precise gene-editing technique known as base editing has shown promising results for keeping cholesterol levels in check.

The approach involves an injection of a treatment called VERVE-101, which permanently deactivates a gene that is active in the liver called PCSK9. That gene controls the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or ‘bad’ cholesterol — a key contributor to heart disease.

Verve Therapeutics, the biotechnology firm in Boston, Massachusetts, behind the treatment, reported that a one-time injection of VERVE-101 reduced the amount of LDL in the blood by up to 55% in trial participants, who had a condition that causes lifelong high LDL.

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