For the first time, a man got some of his genes modified with the revolutionary genetic engineering tool called CRISPR.
Researchers at Sichuan University in China tested the new technology on a patient with advanced lung cancer.
They took immune cells from the blood and shut down a specific gene with the new method that makes it easy to change the genes in living cells.
The method is called CRISPR (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) and is regarded as a breakthrough in genetic engineering.
The Chinese researchers then injected they genetically engineered immune cells back into the patient.
These genetically modified immune cells have become more aggressive and the idea is for the cells to strengthen the immune system to fight tumor cells.
The leader of the study, the oncologist Lu You, said to the journal Nature that the treatment went smoothly and that the patient will receive another injection. But he would not say anything more about how the patient feels.
Researchers have previously reported promising results from similar treatments with older and more complicated genetic engineering.
Next year, scientists in the United States will use CRISPR as an experimental treatment for various cancers.
And in China, there are concrete plans trials for further testing on patients with bladder cancer, prostate, and kidney cancer.