Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have developed a novel approach for delivering small bits of genetic material into the body to improve the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Delivering short strands of RNA into cells has become a popular research area because of its potential therapeutic applications, but how to deliver them into targeted cells in a living organism has been an obstacle.
In the Oct. 10 advance online edition of the journal Nature Materials, researchers describe how they encapsulated short pieces of RNA into engineered particles called thioketal nanoparticles and orally delivered the genetic material directly to the inflamed intestines of animals. The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.
"The thioketal nanoparticles we designed are stable in both acids and bases and only break open to release the pieces of RNA in the presence of reactive oxygen species, which are found in and around inflamed tissue in the gastrointestinal tract of individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases," said Niren Murthy, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.
This work was done in collaboration with Emory University Division of Digestive Diseases professor Shanthi Sitaraman, associate professor Didier Merlin and postdoctoral fellow Guillaume Dalmasso.
The thioketal nanoparticles protect the small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) from the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract and target them directly to the inflamed intestinal tissues. This localized approach is necessary because siRNAs can cause major side-effects if injected systemically.
In the paper, the thioketal nanoparticles were formulated from a new polymer -- poly-(1,4-phenyleneacetone dimethylene thioketal) (PPADT) -- and engineered to have a diameter of approxim
|Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News