Binary System for MicroRNA-Targeted Imaging in Single Cells and Photothermal Cancer Therapy

Journal: Analytical Chemistry

Published: 2016-08-02

DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b01804

Affiliations: 1

Authors: 3

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Research Highlight

In the loop on cancer treatment

© ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/Science Photo Library/Getty

© ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/Science Photo Library/Getty

A new therapeutic system combines gold particles and RNA to detect and selectively destroy cancer cells.

The system, developed by a team at the East China University of Science and Technology, targets short RNA molecules known as micro-RNAs which are misexpressed in many cancers. It uses gold nanoparticles that are small enough to easily enter cells. Each particle is attached to synthetic pieces of RNA that have trapped a fluorescent dye by folding in on themselves in loops.

When these RNA loops encounter the target microRNA, they unfold and release the dye. The unfolded synthetic RNAs then bind to each other, linking the gold nanoparticles together in a chain, which can then be heated with an infrared laser to selectively kill the cancerous cells containing the gold particle chains.

The team tested the system on mice and found that it killed tumour tissue and reduced tumour growth without adverse side effects.

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  1. Analytical Chemistry 88, 8640-8647 (2016). doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b01804
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East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST), China 1