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Sanford-Burnham researchers develop novel nanoparticle to deliver powerful RNA interference drugs
Date:7/9/2013

LA JOLLA, Calif., July 8 2013 Silencing genes that have malfunctioned is an important approach for treating diseases such as cancer and heart disease. One effective approach is to deliver drugs made from small molecules of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, which are used to inhibit gene expression. The drugs, in essence, mimic a natural process called RNA interference.

In a new paper appearing today online in the journal, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have developed nanoparticles that appear to solve a big challenge in delivering the RNA molecules, called small interfering RNA, or siRNA, to the cells where they are needed. By synthesizing a nanoparticle that releases its siRNA cargo only after it enters targeted cells, Dr. Tariq M. Rana and colleagues showed in mice that they could deliver drugs that silenced the genes they wanted.

"Our study describes a strategy to reduce toxic effects of nanoparticles, and deliver a cargo to its target," said Dr. Rana, whose paper, "In Vivo Delivery of RNAi by Reducible Interfering Nanoparticles (iNOPs)," also included contributions from researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of California at San Diego. "We've found a way to release the siRNA compounds, so it can be more effective where it's needed," Dr. Rana said.

In their experiment, the team synthesized what they call interfering nanoparticles, or iNOPs, made from repetitively branched molecules of a small natural polymer called poly-L-lysine. The iNOPs were specially designed with positively charged residues connected by disulfide bonds and these iNOPS assemble into a complex with negatively charged siRNA molecules. It's the bonds that ensure that the siRNA molecules remain with the nanoparticle, named iNOP-7DS. However, once inside targeted cells, a naturally occurring and abundant antioxidant called glutathione breaks the bond, releasing the
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Contact: Deborah Robison
drobison@sanfordburnham.org
407-615-0072
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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