New and improved RNA interference

Ever since RNA interference was discovered, in 1998, scientists have been pursuing the tantalizing ability to shut off any gene in the body — in particular, malfunctioning genes that cause diseases such as cancer.

This week, researchers at MIT and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals report that they have successfully used RNA interference to turn off multiple genes in the livers of mice, an advance that could lead to new treatments for diseases of the liver and other organs.

The new delivery method, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is orders of magnitude more effective than previous methods, says Daniel Anderson, senior author of the paper and a biomedical engineer at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. It’s also the first method that can deliver as many as five genes — previous delivery vehicles could carry only one or two genes.

via New and improved RNA interference.

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