A new study shows that attaching antibody-like RNA nanoparticles to extracellular microvesicles can deliver effective RNA therapeutics such as small interfering RNA (siRNA) specifically to cancer cells. Researchers used RNA nanotechnology to apply the RNA nanoparticles and control their orientation to produce microscopic, therapy-loaded extracellular microvesicles that successfully targeted three types of cancer in animal models. The findings, reported online on December 11, 2017 in Nature Nanotechnology, could lead to a new generation of anticancer drugs that use siRNA, microRNA, and other RNA-interference technologies. The article is titled “Nanoparticle Orientation to Control RNA Loading and Ligand Display on Extracellular Vesicles for Cancer Regression.” The study was led by researchers at Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy and at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). “Therapies that use siRNA and RNA interference technologies are poised to transform cancer therapy,” says the principal investigator Peixuan Guo (photo), PhD, Sylvan G. Frank Endowed Chair Professor of the College of Pharmacy and a member of the OSUCCC – James Translational Therapeutics Program. “But clinical trials evaluating these agents have failed one after another due to the inability to deliver the agents directly to cancer cells in the human body.” Dr. Guo noted that even when agents did reach and enter cancer cells, they were trapped in internal vesicles called endosomes and rendered ineffective.
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