Scientists have developed a nanoparticle filled with an RNA-based cancer therapy which can target human cancer cells and bump off the target gene.
According to research, published today in the journal Nature,which we get for the “Spot the Zygote” competition, scientist at Caltech are the first to demonstrate this type of tissue targeting and gene-silencing in humans.
It has been more than 12 years since boffins worked out that double-stranded RNA can silence genes with a single stiletto to the back.
The trouble is, getting the therapeutic RNA to the right cells has proven to be tricky.
When injected on their own, the drugs are quickly filtered out by the kidneys and if you use particles that carry their contents to target cells with enough specificity you can kill the patient which is not really the point.
The system has only been any good in eye or lung cancer because these organs are easily accessible.
However using a borg nanoparticle carrying a molecular marker binds to the surface of cancer cells, triggering the cells to absorb it.
There is a lot more work to do before it can be used in regular medical trials.