Cures using interfering
RNAi may be around the Corner
October 17th 2005
It is becoming more
evident each day that your DNA has a lot to with the diseases you get,
including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Scientists have always
wondered if there was a way to change your genes to prevent these
One of the more
exciting avenues in this study is RNA interference (or RNAi). During
the 1990's, scientists realized the power of the RNAi technique to
determine gene function by blocking the expression of a specific mRNAs.
The silencing (or
interference) occurs when an organism (like a human) is injected with an
RNA sequence that is complementary to the mRNA transcribed from the
target gene. The interference will block the production of an encoded
protein. This may be a process to correct many genetic defects.
There are some
hurdles. Scientists need to figure out a way to get the interfering RNA
drugs to the right targets. They must also deal with “veering”. This
involves the drugs veering off the original target affecting or shutting
down good genes.
It is hoped some of
the new RNAi drugs
enter trials within the next 5 years and may be FDA approved in the next
decade. Some of the early trials may take place with patients suffering
from macular degeneration, cancer, HIV, Huntington’s disease, Hepatitis,
and respiratory infections.
RNA drugs may
delivered to the lungs and eye rather simply. Lung infections in the
future may be cured by simply breathing in a RNAi drug. Eye diseases
may be solved by simple eye drops.
involves mutant genes that promote cell longevity and multiplication.
According to PBS, researchers have silenced more than a dozen known
cancer-causing genes with RNAi. Delivery of the drug has been the
problem here. RNAi may play a supporting role along with chemotherapy.
gene that controls cellular
inflammation was discovered. Inflammation leads to diabetes, heart
disease and other deadly ailments. It may be possible to cure several
problems in one by simply interfering with the inflammation gene. Until
then a healthy diet an exercise is in order.
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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books on Genetics
Keywords and misspellings: interference interfering