Waging War Against Cancer: Harnessing RNAi-based Biologic Therapies to Destroy Cancer Cells
Nearly five decades after America began its war against cancer with the signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971 by U.S. President Nixon1, Americans have experienced progress, stagnation and defeat in this war. Novel and incredible research efforts, such as the mapping of the complete human genome, hold significant promise for determining the genetic underpinnings of cancer and providing targeted therapies that will increase a patient’s chance of survival. And yet, such therapies remain few and far between.”2
Still in the intervening years, scientists have learned plenty about the so-called “hallmarks of cancer,” which have been the main focus of drug development. According to author Ramya Ramaswami and her colleagues, these include inhibiting proliferative signals; preventing angiogenesis; exploiting the genomic instability of tumor, and stopping the ability of cancers to go undetected by the immune system.3
RNAi-based Biologic Therapies: Fighting Cancer One Strand at a Time
One of the most popular platforms for drug development as outlined above involves inhibiting proliferative signals. Cancer is specifically defined by abnormal cell growth and preventing the signals that lead to the growth of these cells and their eventual metathesis is especially significant.
Initially, one of the most promising therapies involved harnessing the powers of RNA interference or RNAi.4 RNAi is a process by which RNA molecules can turn off gene expression. In the treatment of cancer, scientists have hoped to use this technique to silence the genes that are either upregulated in cancer cells or are involved in cell division. However, using RNAi-based biologic therapies has been a tricky process. To begin with, once in the body, RNA molecules are very fragile and they can be difficult to localize within cells to do their “interfering” work.5 The use of RNAi transcripts as biologic therapies stagnated until recent studies have shown novel new ways of targeting RNAi molecules to cells.
Lab Software to Help Develop RNAi-based Biologic Therapies
If research organizations are interested in increasing their potential to make biotherapeutic discoveries inspired by RNAi-based biologic therapies, they should consider the use of best practices lab software to fast-track the transformation of ideas into tangible results. Following are specific ways in which doing so can assist researchers:
Organize high volumes of information with multiple experiments: Effective lab software organizes high volumes of experimental data in order to facilitate the organization and interpretation of this information. In doing so, the software assists researchers in overcoming the barriers to innovation and the development of biologic therapies. In terms of RNAi-based biologic therapies, it is especially important to try various ways of transporting molecules into cells. Additionally, understanding how the different carriers for these molecules are metabolized and potential off-target effects is especially important given plans to use RNAi-based biologic therapies in humans.
Safety: Beyond assisting in the discovery process, best practices lab software also ensures that safety protocols are being followed for the benefit of patients who will use these biologic therapies as well as the companies creating them. For example, users can access regulatory quality compliance information, documentation and process production operations in one platform. Also, detailed information about the bioprocess in creating these RNAi-based biologic therapies can also be stored to ensure the consistency of biotherapeutics.
RNAi-based biologic therapies could revolutionize cancer treatment by providing a safe technique for silencing cancerous genes and delivering RNAi to the cells that need them. To determine how else BIOVIA Biologics Solution can assist in the development of novel cancer therapeutics, please contact us today.
- “War on Cancer,” August 25, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Cancer ↩
- “The Human Genome, a Decade Later,” December 21, 2010, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/422140/the-human-genome-a-decade-later/ ↩
- “Novel Cancer Therapies,” 2013, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814169 ↩
- “RNA interference,” September 2, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_interference ↩
- “New Research Could (Finally) Remove RNAi’s Commercial Limitations,” November 17, 2014, http://www.xconomy.com/national/2014/11/17/new-research-could-finally-remove-rnais-commercial-limitations/ ↩