Nanowerk is reporting on recent work by researchers at UCLA to use siRNA (small interfering RNA) laden quantum dots to knockdown cancer genes within neoplastic cells. Although various applications for siRNA have been developed, this new work is a major step in bringing the nanotechnology into practice for clinical research or even as a viable treatment option.
Michael Berger over at Nanowerk reports:
The researchers’ goal was to use the RNAi-based approach to specifically inhibit the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway – a key signal cascade for cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis – in brain tumor cells, which were surrounded by non-malignant cells, thus demonstrating the target specificity of a class of siRNA quantum dots (siRNA-QDs) that they developed.
In new work published by Lee’s team and collaborators at UCLA ("Selective Inhibition of Human Brain Tumor Cells through Multifunctional Quantum-Dot-Based siRNA Delivery"), the researchers first optimized their system by knocking down the expression of enhanced green fluorescent proteins (EGFP), and then using this optimized system they successfully suppressed the expression of EGFRvIII (epidermal growth factor receptor variant III) in the human GBM cell line, which subsequently led to cell apoptosis.
Read on at Nanowerk: Quantum dot based siRNA approach selectively inhibits brain cancer cells…
Abstract in Angewandte Chemie International Edition: Selective Inhibition of Human Brain Tumor Cells through Multifunctional Quantum-Dot-Based siRNA Delivery
Image: Multifunctional siRNAQDs (red), when incubated in a co-culture of malignant tumor cells (U87-EGFP) and less tumorigenic cells (SK-N-BE(2)C), selectively transfected the U87 cells. Very few siRNA-QDs internalized within the less tumorigenic cells. (Scale bar = 50 µm).