UK scientists develop nanoparticles to transport delicate anti-cancer agent

September 23, 2019

Scientists are always developing new  treatments to bolster their defenses against cancer – the latest process, known as “gene knockdown”, incorporates the binding of small interfering ribonucleic acids (siRNAs) to specific gene messenger molecules, destroying them before they instruct cells to produce affected proteins. Dr. David Fairen-Jimenez, from the Cambridge Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, the University of Cambridge, and colleagues have since created a platform that uses nanoparticles to easily transport the siRNAs into the cells.

As RNA instability and susceptibility to enzymatic degradation have prevented its widespread clinical use in the past, the nanoparticles, known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), could now be a viable way of delivering the fragileanti-cancer siRNA agent. A MOF of the ideal size will break down and release the agent upon entering a cell.

Fairen-Jimenez’s team added extra components to their MOFs to prevent them from being trapped on their way into a cell, a natural defense mechanism against unwanted components, and with this, could ensure the siRNA reaches its target , whole, to start the cellular genetic knockdown. The new system provides tremendous potential for effective and efficient cancer therapies in the future.

Category: Features

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