RNA-blocking Nanotherapy for Ovarian Cancer Boosts Chemotherapy Response in Mice

RNA-blocking Nanotherapy for Ovarian Cancer Boosts Chemotherapy Response in Mice
A lucky circumstance led scientists, working in mice, to discover that nanoparticle-delivered siRNA blockers of a molecule found in ovarian cancer can dramatically improve response to chemotherapy. The siRNA molecules blocked the production of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), which is linked to particularly aggressive cancers. The study, “Targeted in vivo delivery of EGFR siRNA inhibits ovarian cancer growth and enhances drug sensitivity,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The goal of the Georgia Institute of Technology research team’s experiments was to test if the delivery system, composed of a nanohydrogel, was effective in delivering siRNAs to a tumor in mice. They had only tested the system in a lab dish earlier, and chose to use EGFR as it is known to contribute to cancer growth and is easy to measure. The nanohydrogel is essentially a tiny pellet, composed of a compact organic molecule and 98 percent water. The gel contains a molecule that allows it to gather at the site of the tumor by binding to a receptor. Once there, siRNA strands, loaded onto the gel, enter the cells and bind to mRNA, which is an intermediate molecule between a gene and a protein. In this way, the siRNA prevents the production of the targeted factor. Researchers loaded siRNA molecules, labeled with a fluorescent dye, onto the nanohydrogel, and gave it to mice carrying human ovarian cancers. The mice were then treated with Platinol (cisplatin), the most commonly used chemotherapeutic for ovarian cancer. While control animals also benefitted from the
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Magdalena holds an MSc in Pharmaceutical Bioscience and an interdisciplinary PhD merging the fields of psychiatry, immunology and neuropharmacology. Her previous research focused on metabolic and immunologic changes in psychotic disorders. She is now focusing on science writing, allowing her to culture her passion for medical science and human health.

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