SPANosomes deliver siRNA more effectively

If not for a delivery problem, gene-silencing siRNA therapy would be much closer to reality inside the clinic today. But more than a decade after its discovery, siRNA has proven to be difficult to deliver, and made to stay, in exactly the right spot in order to properly "silence" problem genes. Enter a new "osome" to the lexicon: SPANosome. It was invented by Ohio State grad student Chenguang Zhou and, according to a release, it's a lipid-based nanocarrier that is 6 times more effective at silencing target gene activity than traditional carriers.

Lipid-based nanocarriers are nothing new, but Zhou's secret sauce uses "a special compound on the surface that helps it slip more easily into the cell," according to the release. "We saw a correlating increase of 3.5 times more gene silencing activity," Zhou said in the release. "The reason you want to study pharmacokinetics is because you want to find the exposure and response relationship. The reason the SPANosome is more effective is because it allows for increased exposure of siRNA to the main part of the cell."

It does this by taking a kind of "highway pathway" to enter liver cells, as opposed to slower local routes, the release said. Zhou and colleagues are looking at collaborations to use SPANosomes as delivery devices to treat liver cancer.

- read the release from Ohio State