MicroRNA scaffold cancer therapy - Wellcome Image Awards 2017 Winners' gallery

Press/Media: Research


Short genetic sequences called microRNAs, which control the proper function and growth of cells, are being investigated by researchers as a possible cancer therapy. However, their potential use is limited by the lack of an efficient system to deliver these microRNAs specifically to cancerous cells. Researchers at MIT have developed such a system, combining two microRNAs with a synthetic polymer to form a stable woven structure a bit like a net. This synthetic net can coat a tumour and deliver the two microRNAs locally to cancer cells.

The two microRNAs used have different mechanisms of action and work together as a two-pronged attack: one is a tumour suppressor, and the other is an anti-microRNA, meaning that it prevents a mutated, tumour-promoting microRNA from functioning. This therapy has already been tested in mouse models of breast cancer, where it caused a tumour to shrink by nearly 90 per cent after just two weeks.

Period1 Jun 2017

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