The new study published in Cancer Discovery, the flagship journal of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), involving three Spanish and six American research centres, presents significant results in treating cancer patients with nanoparticles containing ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) molecules. This marks the first time that the therapeutic effect of RNAi has been demonstrated in humans.
Barcelona, 11 February 2013. A study led by Dr Josep Tabernero, the Director of Clinical Research at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, shows for the first time that ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) is effective in the treatment of cancer patients. Harnessing these molecules to silence genes involved in the development and growth of cancer cells is an important step forward in developing a new and more targeted type of cancer therapy.
Dr Josep Tabernero, lead author of this study, said: "This is the first evidence to show that RNAi can be administered to cancer patients effectively, leading to significant tumour response."
RNAi is a gene-silencing mechanism that uses a subtype of RNA molecules to interfere with and silence genes. RNAi plays a vital role in normal cell development and differentiation, in cancer and viral defence, as it is powerful mechanism in the regulation of gene expression. Besides being a key natural cellular phenomenon, gene silencing shows great potential as a therapeutic device to shut down genes that have become hyperactive through cancer.
However, researchers have encountered difficulties in administering RNAi, as the molecules must penetrate cells in therapeutically effective concentrations, which in turn requires structural modifications. In the new study, led by the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), along with several other cancer research centres and the U.S. biotech comp
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Vall dHebron Institute of Oncology