In Vivo Delivery of siRNA for EGFR Inhibits Ovarian Cancer Growth and Enhances Drug Efficacy in Mouse Model

In the fight against cancer, doctors dish out combination-blows of surgery, chemotherapy, and other drugs to beat back a merciless foe. Now, scientists have taken early steps toward adding a stinging punch to clinicians' repertoire. A novel targeted therapy using nanoparticles has enabled researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to purge ovarian tumors in limited, in vivo tests in mice. "The dramatic effect we see is the massive reduction or complete eradication of the tumor, when the 'nanohydrogel' treatment is given in combination with existing chemotherapy," said chief researcher John McDonald, Ph.D. That nanohydrogel is a minute gel pellet that homed in on malignant cells with a payload of an RNA strand. The RNA entered the cell, where it knocked down a protein gone awry that is involved in many forms of cancer. In trials on mice, this approach put the brakes on ovarian cancer growth and broke down resistance to chemotherapy. That allowed a common chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, to drastically reduce or eliminate large carcinomas with very similar speed and manner. The successful results in treatment of four mice with the combination of siRNA and cisplatin showed little variance. The therapeutic short interfering RNA (siRNA) developed by Dr. McDonald and Georgia Tech researchers Minati Satpathy, Ph.D., and Roman Mezencev, Ph.D., thwarted cancer-causing overproduction of cell structures called epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs), which extend out of the membrane of certain cell types. EGFR overproduction is associated with aggressive cancers. The researchers from Georgia Tech's School of Biological Sciences published their results on Monday, November 7, 2016, in the journal Scientific Reports.
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