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La Jolla Institute opens major RNAi center for identifying genetic triggers of disease
Date:8/11/2011

l genes, one at a time, in order to figure out which functions they control. Once medical researchers know, for instance, that a certain gene is a major contributor to a specific disease process, they can make it a target for future drug development, she explained.

Based on the earliest RNAi research, clinical trials have already been initiated in the U.S. for several diseases, including hepatitis C and leukemia. The technology is also currently being used to explore macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in the elderly.

Dr. Kronenberg said RNAi advances thus far are promising and that the Institute's specialized expertise in real-life experimental models of disease will enhance the capabilities of RNAi even further. "We intend to develop efficient methods for RNAi screening in living organisms, which will allow us to analyze complex disease processes like Alzheimer's or cancer in ways never before possible," he said. "Large-scale screening using mouse models will be revolutionary because it will greatly expand the current capabilities of RNAi."

The new Center will feature the latest in high-throughput automation and robotics, combined with extensive libraries of RNAi molecules. "We will use advanced RNAi technology to screen against a subset of human genes, or even against the entire human genome, to determine the effect on a disease process," said Stephen Wilson, Ph.D., Center executive director and the Institute's VP/Chief Technology Officer.

"Our Center's strong capabilities will enable La Jolla Institute researchers, and others around the country, to meet the challenge of sifting through thousands of genes in a relatively short time to pinpoint the key genetic players in human disease," he said.

In addition to Recovery Act funding from the NIH Office of the Director, the La Jolla Institute RNAi Center is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.

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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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