Texas researchers find a better way of delivering siRNA

While some drug companies have thrown up their hands in frustration at the challenges in delivering small interfering RNA (siRNA), or gene-silencing particles that could figuratively shut up cancer, many researchers have not yet given up on this promising yet difficult technology. And that includes the folks at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of North Texas Health Science Center, who think they've found an answer in a batch of synthetic high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that they concocted.

Writing in the April edition of Neoplasia, the researchers describe how they created synthetic HDL nanoparticles, loaded them with siRNA to silence cancer-causing genes and injected them into mice with ovarian cancer. The recipe seemed to work, as the ovarian cancers were either shrunk or destroyed.

"RNA interference has great therapeutic potential but delivering it to cancer cells has been problematic," Anil Sood, the study's senior author, said in a release. "Combining siRNA with HDL provides an efficient way to get these molecules to their targets. The study has several important implications in the ability to fight certain cancers."

Sood said that previous tries at delivering siRNA with liposomes and other nanoparticles have not been greatly successful because of toxicity and other concerns. "HDL is completely biocompatible and is a safety improvement over other types of nanoparticles,"

The synthetic version of HDL they created, called rHDL, is more stable than the natural version and it does not cause immunologic responses, minimizing potential side effects.

- take a look at the UT release
- and the abstract in the journal Neoplasia