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In July 2019, medical staff in Nashville dosed the first U.S. patient in the exa-cel therapy trial, sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics. That first patient was Victoria Gray, a mother of four from Forest, Mississippi, a sickle cell warrior and a true pioneer in the world of CRISPR and cell therapy. That process began 4.5 years ago. Today, she is healthy, enjoying a pain-free life with her family and friends—as are dozens of other sickle cell patients who participated in the trial. In December 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Casgevy, setting a list price of $2.2 million for the one-time therapy. In January 2024, Executive Editor Kevin Davies and GEN Senior Editor Uduak Thomas interviewed Gray for “The State of Cell and Gene Therapy,” a GEN virtual summit that was broadcast on January 24, 2024.

(This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)

Victoria, how are you feeling today?

Gray: I'm still doing good—way better than I expected in the beginning. So life is good for me right now.

What can you...