Northwestern docs deliver siRNA with lotion to stymie cancer

Effective delivery has long been a barrier to the progress of siRNA treatments, but researchers at Northwestern University have developed a novel way to administer the therapy: lotion.

As the researchers explained in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they coated gold nanoparticles with melanoma-fighting siRNA to create spherical nucleic acid nanoparticle conjugates, and then put millions of them into a commercially available petroleum moisturizer, MSNBC reports. The siRNA targets the epidermal growth factor receptor gene, which spurs tumor growth, and the researchers tested their siRNA lotion on mice and lab-grown human tissue.

The results: After getting three treatments a week for three weeks, the expression of the gene shrunk by 65% in the test tissues.

And the doctors aren't stopping with melanoma. In theory, the lotion delivery platform could be used for many siRNA treatments, including anti-aging, psoriasis and wound-healing therapies. The doctors envision commercializing siRNA lotions as over-the-counter treatments for countless disorders, and Northwestern's Chad Mirkin has launched a company called Aurasense Therapeutics that aims to cash in on the nascent method, according to MSNBC.

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