Researchers have shown that a novel aptamer-based delivery strategy can efficiently introduce a functional microRNA (miRNA) that has anti-cancer and anti-angiogenic activities into two different types of cells—into breast cancer cells to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis, and into endothelial cells that line blood vessels to protect against atherosclerosis. The overexpression of miR-126 in such cells using a universal aptamer delivery approach is described in an article in the June 2015 issue of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers (http://www.liebertpub.com). The complete article is available free on the Nucleic Acid Therapeutics website until July 3, 2015 (see link below). Dr. Jan-H Rohde and Dr. Stefanie Dimmeler, Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany) and Dr. Julia Weigand and Dr. Beatrix Suess, Technical University (Darmstadt, Germany), linked the short noncoding RNA miR-126, which is essential for the growth of blood vessels, to an aptamer, a short nucleic acid sequence that delivers the therapeutic microRNA inside target cells. The researchers describe how they formed an aptamer chimera by linking a precursor of miR-126 to an aptamer of the transferrin receptor, which is present on the surfaces of both normal endothelial cells and cancer cells. Data demonstrating the efficient uptake of the aptamer and the processing of the precursor miR-126 to produce a functionally active microRNA are presented in the article titled "A Universal Aptamer Chimera for the Delivery of Functional microRNA-126.” "This innovative strategy demonstrates for the first time an aptamer-based modular delivery of microRNA in endothelial and breast cancer cells," says Nucleic Acids Therapeutics Executive Editor Graham C.
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