siRNA based drugs & vaccines?

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Short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are RNA strands designed to bind to target strands of mRNA and knock down the expression of targeted genes, thus preventing the synthesis of the respective proteins. Special interest in recent years about using siRNAs to target key disease proteins has been suppressed due to the difficulty of having the siRNAs enter the cells, a necessary step of this process. RNA is negatively charged and repelled by the negatively charged surface of the cells. Recent developments, summarized by Robert Service in Science, show that packing hundreds of copies of siRNA strands into a tight ball (nanoparticle) may overcome this limitation and lead to novel treatments and vaccines. This is based on the fact that multiple positively charged cell surface proteins called scavenger proteins bind and engulf the RNA ball into the cell.   

American Chemical Society Spring Meeting. Nanoparticles offer ‘open sesame’ keys to new drugs and vaccines. Service RF. Science. 2012 Apr 20;336(6079):292. PMID: 22517836

posted by Yannis Trakadis MD, MSc

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