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Tumour Targetting
26 March 2016

Tumour Targetting

Inside cells, tiny RNA molecules called microRNAs are important regulators of larger protein-coding RNA transcripts called messengerRNAs, and as such are involved in a large variety of essential cell functions. Researchers are interested in using these influential microRNAs as cancer therapies, but while they may have powerful effects, delivering them to tumours is difficult because they’re highly unstable. A new approach – shown in this scanning electron micrograph – promises to improve microRNA stability and tumour targeting in one. Therapeutic microRNAs are first assembled into triple-helical structures, which stabilise the RNA, and then attached to polymer particles, which enhance their delivery into cells. Lastly, the particles are mixed with a solution to form an adhesive gel that can be adhered directly onto tumours. In mice with breast cancer, this triple-helix microRNA glue caused tumours to shrink dramatically and the animals to live much longer than untreated controls.

Written by Ruth Williams

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