Skip to Content

Nanoparticles Deliver Gene Therapy through the Skin

A study suggests that a gene-suppressant could someday be delivered via a cream.

New research shows that super-small particles can penetrate almost all of the epidermis, the outer layer of skin that normally prevents objects from making their way inside the body. The nanoparticles passed through cell membranes in the epidermis and did not cause negative skin or cellular reactions.

The nucleic acid nanoparticles that were used carried a small interfering RNA (siRNA) treatment, which acts as a gene suppressant. It can change how specific parts of our genetic makeup exert influence on the operation of cellular processes inside the body, including the unfettered cell replication which is the cause of cancer.

Since the nanoparticles made it through the skin with no adverse effects, the results suggest that siRNA could be delivered this way. siRNA gene therapy is one of the hottest areas of research currently.

The paper was published in early July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by scientists at the University of Illinois.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.