Sunday, June 30, 2013

Enhancing RNA interference with nanoparticles

(Nanowerk News) Nanoparticles that deliver short strands of RNA offer a way to treat cancer and other diseases by shutting off malfunctioning genes. Although this approach has shown some promise, scientists are still not sure exactly what happens to the nanoparticles once they get inside their target cells.
 
A new study from MIT sheds light on the nanoparticles’ fate and suggests new ways to maximize delivery of the RNA strands they are carrying, known as short interfering RNA (siRNA).
 
“We’ve been able to develop nanoparticles that can deliver payloads into cells, but we didn’t really understand how they do it,” says Daniel Anderson, the Samuel Goldblith Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. “Once you know how it works, there’s potential that you can tinker with the system and make it work better.”
 
Anderson, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, is the leader of a research team that set out to examine how the nanoparticles and their drug payloads are processed at a cellular and subcellular level.
 
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