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Anticancer miRNA Coupled to Folate Needs No Protective Packaging

10:27 EDT 2 Aug 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

The use of gene-regulating microRNAs (miRNAs) for treating cancer is a promising concept, but in practice the approach has been hobbled by a lack of efficient delivery vehicles. miRNAs are subject to enzyme attack in the bloodstream, so traditional delivery approaches have involved packaging the short RNA strands in protective particles such as lipid-encapsulated nanoparticles. Unfortunately, such delivery vehicles can be toxic, or are too big to efficiently penetrate the tumor microenvironment.  A team of researchers at Purdue University has now developed an miRNA delivery technique that does away with protective delivery vehicles completely. Instead, the approach couples a ‘naked’ miRNA molecule to folate (vitamin B9), to create a FolamiR conjugate that targets the folate receptor, which is overexpressed on many types of solid and hematologic cancers, but is expressed at insignificant levels on normal cells. In today’s Science Translational Medicine , Purdue University’s Andrea L. Kasinski ...

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