Shrinking Tumors with an RNA Triple-Helix Hydrogel Glue
News Dec 09, 2015
The new technique uses a hydrogel - a super-glue-like gel that spontaneously forms when two solutions mix - and self-assembled nanoparticles consisting of two microRNAs that suppress and target tumor tissue. This platform can be injected locally, allowing the researchers to increase dosage at the site of the tumor while decreasing the risk of the therapy accumulating in the kidneys, liver or other organs. In mouse models, the adhesive containing self-assembled nanoparticles injected using this approach has been far more potent, selective and specific to tumor cells than conventional chemotherapeutic drugs and have lengthened survival time.
"Cancer is usually viewed as a systemic disease requiring systemic therapy but here we show that local therapy is actually very potent," said senior author Natalie Artzi, PhD, a researcher in the BWH Department of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering Division, and the Harvard-MIT Division for Health Sciences and Technology. "The results are outstanding and demonstrate the power of local, sustained delivery, and the promise of gene therapy in cancer treatment."
The researchers note that this approach can be used to deliver other combinations of microRNAs or other types of genetic material, including antisense DNA or small interfering RNA, to treat a wide-range of diseases. As a next step, the team will test the technique for biocompatibility and efficacy in larger animal models and will scale up their platform to screen for additional potentially therapeutic microRNAs and cancer therapies that can be combined to improve treatment.
"Genetic Jenga" Helps Understand How Our Genes Control Our CellsNews
To fully understand how our cells work, we can't focus on just one gene, but must instead look at combinations of genes. Researchers have published a study which knocked out multiple genes, like removing bricks from a Jenga tower, to better understand how they work together.READ MORE
Southeast Asian Nomads Have Evolved to Hunt Fish UnderwaterNews
The human spleen can release oxygenated blood cells to allow more time underwater without breathing. A new study has identified that the "Sea Nomad" Bajau people of Indonesia have evolved larger spleens that would allow them to remain underwater for longer.READ MORE
The End of the Breathalyzer?News
Engineers have developed a miniature, ultra-low power injectable biosensor that could be used for continuous, long-term alcohol monitoring. The chip is small enough to be implanted in the body just beneath the surface of the skin and is powered wirelessly by a wearable device, such as a smartwatch or patch.READ MORE
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