Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Susan Young Rojahn

A View from Susan Young Rojahn

Nucleic Acid Origami Delivers a Promising Genetic Therapy

A DNA and RNA nanoparticle brings gene-silencing siRNAs to tumor cells.

  • June 5, 2012

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.”

Countdown to EmTech Digital 2019. Join us and be the AI leader your company needs.

Register now
More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.