RNA-interference technology continues to impress. This clever method of harnessing nature’s mRNA silencers, for medical and scientific goals, will reap huge benefits down the road. The latest indication comes from the playfully-named Sirna Therapeutics group, via the BBC:
The researchers incorporated the key molecules – called small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) into fat-like particles that protect them from attack by digestive enzymes in the blood.
These enzymes normally degrade RNA molecules in cells or the circulation.
Not only did this increase the stability when injected into mice, it also reduced the dose needed for therapeutic effect.
Previous studies suggested that the amounts of siRNA needed to achieve a therapeutic effect in people far exceed safe levels of exposure…
…Professor Roger Williams, consultant hepatologist at University College London, agreed that a human application was a long way off.
But he said potentially the therapy might benefit patients who did not respond to current anti-viral drugs, or those who carried the virus without showing any symptoms.
Some of us were fortunate enough to be at the institution where RNA interference was first recognized and exploited. The technology was awarded Science’s “Breakthrough of the Year” a few years ago, and the lab discoveries keep coming. This new lipid delivery system may make advances in the clinical realm possible, though it’s worth recalling the promise of Gene Therapy hit snags over the issue of delivery.
More at Sirna Therapeutics…