Folding Drugs Into DNA Origami To Kill Tumors

Scientists in China have devised a nanotechnology platform to deliver interfering RNAs and anticancer drugs to tumors.

AsianScientist (Nov. 30, 2018) – In a study published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, scientists in China have used ‘DNA origami’ to deliver interfering RNA and antitumor therapeutics into multidrug-resistant tumors.

Multidrug-resistant cancer cells are often capable of pumping out anticancer agents, which renders treatment ineffective and increases the chances of cancer relapse. The genes encoding drug efflux pumps are known and scientists have attempted to use small interfering RNAs to block the cancer cells’ ability to pump out drugs.

In this study, researchers led by Professor Ding Baoquan at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, China, designed a method to deliver small interfering RNAs and anticancer drugs to tumors. Using DNA origami, which involves the formation of nanosized DNA objects in complex shapes, the researchers created a triangular DNA structure with various sites for binding cargo molecules. They called the structure a multifunctional platform.

The researchers demonstrated that the multifunctional platform could loosely bind to the anticancer drug doxorubicin. Meanwhile, two linear small hairpin RNA transcription templates for RNA interference, as well as a molecule that binds specifically to cancer cells, were attached to the multifunctional platform by chemical bonds.

Testing their platform on cancer cells grown in petri dishes and in mice, the authors observed effective delivery and release of doxorubicin and interfering RNA into tumors. This resulted in the selective destruction of even multidrug-resistant tumors.

The researchers highlighted that the high specificity of their multifunctional platform could reduce the side effects of anticancer treatments. They added that the platform itself is modifiable, which means that it could be used to explore other delivery strategies and include a wide array of therapeutic components.


The article can be found at: Liu et al. (2018) A Tailored DNA Nanoplatform for Synergistic RNAi‐/Chemotherapy of Multidrug‐Resistant Tumors.

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Source: Wiley; Photo: Pixabay.
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