Friday, November 1, 2013

Nanotechnology joins with cancer genomics in silencing glioblastoma oncogene

Gold nanoparticles (yellow) with small interfering RNAs (green) knock down an oncogene in glioblastoma.
In a study of mice released this week in Science Nanomedicine, researchers were able to reduce glioblastoma size three- to four-fold by switching off the oncogene Bcl2Like12 by means of nanotechnology-assisted delivery of small interfering RNAs. Normal (linear) nucleic acids cannot get into cells, but these spherical nucleic acids can. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) surrounds a gold nanoparticle like a shell; the nucleic acids are highly oriented, densely packed and form a tiny sphere. (The gold nanoparticle core is only 13 nanometers in diameter.) The RNA’s sequence is programmed to silence the disease-causing gene.

“This is a beautiful marriage of a new technology with the genes of a terrible disease,” said Chad A. Mirkin, a nanomedicine expert and a senior co-author of the study. “Using highly adaptable spherical nucleic acids, we specifically targeted a gene associated with GBM and turned it off in vivo. This proof-of-concept further establishes a broad platform for treating a wide range of diseases, from lung and colon cancers to rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.”

Dr. Alexander H. Stegh discovered the Bcl2Like12 oncogene in 2007.  "The beauty of the gene we silenced in this study is that it plays many different roles in therapy resistance,." says Stegh. "Taking the gene out of the picture should allow conventional therapies to be more effective.”

Again, thanks to loyal reader and friend, Dr. Doug Shevlin (pictured below on far left with alt country singer Eef Barzelay on far right), for alerting me to this new development in the field of nanotechnogenomics.

L to R: Dr. Doug Shevlin, John Jordan, and alt country legend Eef Barzelay

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