UT Southwestern develops nanotherapy to stave off liver cancer: newsroom





DALLAS – Jan 14, 2022 – Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed an innovative nanotherapy drug that prevents cancer from spreading to the liver in mice.

Andrew Wang, MD, Professor and Associate Vice President of Radiation Oncology Research

A new liver-specific microRNA drug, developed by a team led by Andrew Wang, MDAnd It is a promising candidate for the pharmaceutical companies that have developed messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for COVID-19, due to the similarities in these RNA agents.

“This may be one glimmer of hope emerging from the epidemic,” said Dr. Wang, professor of radiation oncology and author of a rodent study published in the journal. Cancer research.

“It takes significant funding and resources to develop nanoparticles that can deliver nucleic acids such as mRNA and miRNA. Before the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the cost was prohibitive. But now that many platforms have been developed and approved, these platforms/nanoparticles can be used for applications Others like what we’ve developed in mouse models in my lab” from Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The engineered nanoparticles encapsulate miR-122 in the heart and target hepatocytes with Gal (blue dots). It delivers miR-122 to hepatocytes making them “healthier”.

The study drug’s core was made by complexing miR-122 with calcium phosphate, and lipids were wrapped around the core to make nanoparticles. The drug delivers miR-122 to liver cells, making them “healthier” by helping prevent cancer cells from establishing themselves in the liver. Although the drug has only been tested in mice, it represents an important advance in the fight against cancer, as up to 70 percent of people with conditions such as colorectal cancer eventually develop liver metastases.

“Liver metastases are second only to lung metastases, so new therapies in this area are an urgent need in oncology. Carlos L. Artega, director of the Harold C. Simons Comprehensive Cancer Center, said Dr. Wang’s study is promising because it showed minimal toxicity.And who holds the Lisa K. Simmons Chair of Excellence in Comprehensive Oncology.

Funding for the study and initial development of the drug was provided by the National Cancer Institute/NIH U54CA198999, NIH T32CA196589 and the University of North Carolina Research Opportunities Initiative.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, combines groundbreaking biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Our 2,800-plus full-time faculty members are responsible for pioneering medical developments and are committed to rapidly translating scientific research into new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in nearly 80 specialties for more than 117,000 hospital patients, more than 360,000 emergencies, and oversee nearly 3 million outpatient visits annually.


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