Jul 052012
 

Early targets of the novel treatment are melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma

“Getting under your skin” takes on a brave new meaning thanks to Northwestern University research that could transform gene regulation.

A team led by a physician-scientist and a chemist — from the fields of dermatology and nanotechnology — is the first to demonstrate the use of commercial moisturizers to deliver gene regulation technology that has great potential for life-saving therapies for skin cancers.

The topical delivery of gene regulation technology to cells deep in the skin is extremely difficult because of the formidable defenses skin provides for the body. The Northwestern approach takes advantage of drugs consisting of novel spherical arrangements of nucleic acids. These structures, each about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, have the unique ability to recruit and bind to natural proteins that allow them to traverse the skin and enter cells.

Applied directly to the skin, the drug penetrates all of the skin’s layers and can selectively target disease-causing genes while sparing normal genes. Once in cells, the drug simply flips the switch of the troublesome genes to “off.”

A detailed study of a method that could dramatically redefine the field of gene regulation will be published online during the week of July 2 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Read more . . .

via Science Daily
 

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