Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

A report published this week in Nature Nanotechnology describes a new method for delivering a genetic treatment called a short interfering RNA, or siRNA, which can turn-off, or silence, a gene.

The sequence of an siRNA determines which gene it regulates. In theory, siRNAs could be a powerful therapeutic tool, silencing just about any human gene that has gone haywire in cancer or other disease. However, delivering the siRNAs to the right place in the body continues to be a challenge.

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals built a three dimensional tetrahedron from six short pieces of DNA. They then glued RNA molecules to each edge and added small molecules to help target the complex to tumor cells. When injected into a mouse that had been implanted with human tumors, the nanoparticles accumulated at the tumor site and reduced the function of a gene that made the implanted tumors glow.

A comment on the work published in Nature Nanotechnology described the new method for delivering siRNAs to tumor cells a “metaphorical foot in the slowly closing door on siRNA therapeutics.”

1 comment. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Biomedicine, cancer, nanotechnology, RNAi, Alnylam

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »