Personalized Cancer Treatment of the Future: RNAi Gene Silencers

May 18, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Researchers have created a new way to deliver cancer-fighting drugs that can be tailored to work on an individual patient and even a specific cancerous tumor, offering great promise as an effective cancer fighting treatment of the future.

The researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have created a groundbreaking new delivery system for small interfering RNA or siRNA that penetrates cancer cell membranes and silences them through the RNA interference or RNAi pathway.

Scientists have experimented with an individualized drug treatment using siRNAs for the past few years, but ran into roadblocks when the negative charged siRNAs failed to penetrate the cell membranes. However, researchers didn’t abandon the use of siRNAs, because those double-stranded RNA molecules hold the key to the gene silencer RNAi pathways.

The RNAi pathways hold great potential for knocking down cancer cells, completely stopping their growth. Finally, lead researcher Steven Dowdy, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine, discovered a siRNA delivery system binding siRNAs to a peptide transduction domain, which has the ability to permeate cell membranes.

Dowdy and his team developed a unique PTD fusion protein using a double-stranded RNA-binding domain, named PTD-DRBD. The researchers then combined tailored siRNAs to the PTD-DRBD and injected it into a human lung cancer reporter-cell line.

The treatment worked by penetrating the cancer cell membranes and activating the RNAi silencer pathways. Additionally, the researchers found that the experimental treatment was non-toxic, which bodes well for the future testing of the treatment on human patients in clinical trials.

Dowdy notes that, “Cancer is a complex, genetic disease that is different in every patient.” Using siRNA-induced RNAi treatments tailored to an individual cancer patient holds the key to effective treatments at the cellular and molecular level.

The full study is available in the May 17 on-line edition of Nature Biotechnology.

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One Response to “Personalized Cancer Treatment of the Future: RNAi Gene Silencers”

  1. Personalized Cancer Treatment of the Future: RNAi Gene Silencers … » Post » My Cancer Journey on May 18th, 2009 3:37 pm

    […] Original post: Personalized Cancer Treatment of the Future: RNAi Gene Silencers … […]

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