Engineers Create Inhalable Form of Messenger RNA

Aug, 2020 - By SMI

Engineers Create Inhalable Form of Messenger RNA

Researchers from MIT create inhalable form of messenger RNA that can be administered directly to the lungs.

This new product was developed by the researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This novel product can be administered directly to the lungs for the treatment of diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

Messenger RNA is capable of encoding genetic instructions that stimulate cells to produce specific proteins. Researches have been conducted to develop mRNA to treat genetic disorders or cancer, by essentially turning the patients' own cells into drug factories. mRNA needs to have a protective carrier, as it can be easily broken down in the body.

The inhalable form of mRNA allow the molecules to be delivered directly to the lungs. The research team decided to develop a material that could stabilize RNA during the process of aerosol delivery. To avoid potential side effects of polyethylenimine (PEI), researchers used positively charged polymers called hyperbranched poly (beta amino esters), which are biodegradable. It consisted spheres of 150 nanometers diameter, with a tangled mixture of the polymer and mRNA molecules that encode luciferase, a bioluminescent protein. The researchers suspended these particles in droplets and delivered them to mice as an inhalable mist, using a nebulizer.

It was observed that lung cells were producing the bioluminescent protein. The amount of protein gradually fell over time as the mRNA was cleared. They were able to maintain steady levels of the protein by giving the mice repeated doses, which might be necessary if used for the treatment of chronic lung disease.

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