[WCSA] Daily Highlights July 15, 2021 - Targeted delivery of therapeutic RNAs only to cancer, no harm caused to healthy cells
(Wcsa.world) The 'door-to-door service' that delivers therapeutic RNA payloads directly to cancer cells and other diseased cells.
Tel Aviv University's groundbreaking technology may revolutionize the treatment of cancer and a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. In the framework of this study, the researchers were able to create a new method of transporting RNA-based drugs to a subpopulation of immune cells involved in the inflammation process, and target the disease-inflamed cell without causing damage to other cells.
The study was led by Prof. Dan Peer, a global pioneer in the development of RNA-based therapeutic delivery. He is Tel Aviv University's Vice President for Research and Development, head of the Center for Translational Medicine and a member of both the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.
Prof. Peer: "Our development actually changes the world of therapeutic antibodies. Today we flood the body with antibodies that, although selective, damage all the cells that express a specific receptor, regardless of their current form. We have now taken out of the equation healthy cells that can help us, that is, uninflamed cells, and via a simple injection into the bloodstream can silence, express or edit a particular gene exclusively in the cells that are inflamed at that given moment."
As part of the study, Prof. Peer and his team were able to demonstrate this groundbreaking development in animal models of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and colitis, and improve all inflammatory symptoms, without performing any manipulation on about 85% of the immune system cells. Behind the innovative development stands a simple concept, targeting to a specific receptor conformation.
"On every cell envelope in the body, that is, on the cell membrane, there are receptors that select which substances enter the cell," explains Prof. Peer. "If we want to inject a drug, we have to adapt it to the specific receptors on the target cells, otherwise it will circulate in the bloodstream and do nothing. But some of these receptors are dynamic -- they change shape on the membrane according to external or internal signals. We are the first in the world to succeed in creating a drug delivery system that knows how to bind to receptors only in a certain situation, and to skip over the other identical cells, that is, to deliver the drug exclusively to cells that are currently relevant to the disease."
Previously, Prof. Peer and his team developed delivery systems based on fatty nanoparticles -- the most advanced system of its kind; this system has already received clinical approval for the delivery of RNA-based drugs to cells. Now, they are trying to make the delivery system even more selective.