Nature's own nanoparticles harnessed to target disease

July 10, 2013 by Helen Dodson, Yale University
Nature’s own nanoparticles harnessed to target disease
Image via Shutterstock

Using a novel form of immune-genetic therapy, researchers from Yale School of Medicine and the Jagiellonian University College of Medicine in Poland have successfully inhibited a strong immune allergic inflammatory response in the skin of mice. The results suggest the technique could be used to combat a variety of diseases.

"We use an antibody coating we chose to deliver therapeutic genetic material we selected to ," said Dr. Philip Askenase, professor of medicine and senior author of the study published July8 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The delivery system consists of naturally occurring nanoparticles called exosomes that are about one thousandth the size of that release them. These tiny vesicles were once thought to contain only unneeded cellular debris. However, in the last decade, scientists have shown that there are billions of exosomes in the circulation and that they carry in the form of micro-RNAs (miRNA) to regulate the functions of nearby and distant cells.

Askenase and colleagues found that exosomes could be coated with an antibody of their choosing. These nanovesicles were able to deliver therapeutic miRNA to specific cells targeted by the antibody. In the current study, the coated exosomes delivered their miRNA cargo to , inhibiting an active allergic disease response in the skin of mice.

"These natural nanoparticles are present throughout the body," said Dr. Krzysztof Bryniarski of Jagiellonian University and lead author of the paper. "They seem to be a superior delivery system compared to artificial nanoparticles currently in use, which often are eliminated from the body because they are sensed as artificial."

In theory, the researchers said, the natural nanoparticles coated with chosen specific antibodies and loaded with selected miRNAs could be used to specifically target and then genetically alter crucial cells involved in allergic conditions such as asthma, autoimmune responses, and potentially even cancers and neurological diseases.

Explore further: Exosomal transmission of viral resistance in Hepatitis B

Related Stories

Exosomal transmission of viral resistance in Hepatitis B

July 10, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—To move material in bulk, the standard shipping container used by cells, is the vesicle. These approximately 40-micron sized spheres are essentially recyclable grocery bags that can be loaded and adorned ...

Virus-like particles provide vital clues about brain tumors

April 17, 2013
Exosomes are small, virus-like particles that can transport genetic material and signal substances between cells. Researchers at Lund University, Sweden, have made new findings about exosomes released from aggressive brain ...

Identifying key regulators of kidney injury

May 9, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered class of RNA molecules that regulate how genes are expressed. UCD researchers led by Conway Fellow, Professor Catherine Godson are studying the role of miRNAs ...

Novel intercellular transportation system may have potential for delivering RNAi and other gene-based therapeutics

March 27, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Important new research from UMass Medical School demonstrates how exosomes shuttle proteins from neurons to muscle cells where they take part in critical signaling mechanisms, an exciting discovery that ...

Recommended for you

Genomics reveals key macrophages' involvement in systemic sclerosis

January 18, 2018
A new international study has made an important discovery about the key role of macrophages, a type of immune cell, in systemic sclerosis (SSc), a chronic autoimmune disease which currently has no cure.

First vaccine developed against grass pollen allergy

January 18, 2018
Around 400 million people worldwide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis), with the usual symptoms of runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. In collaboration with the Viennese firm ...

Researchers discover key driver of atopic dermatitis

January 17, 2018
Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is driven by an allergic reaction. In their latest study, researchers at La Jolla Institute reveal an important player that promotes ...

Who might benefit from immunotherapy? New study suggests possible marker

January 16, 2018
While immunotherapy has made a big impact on cancer treatment, the fact remains that only about a quarter of patients respond to these treatments.

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

January 16, 2018
system, which enables these deadly skin cancers to grow and spread.

How the immune system's key organ regenerates itself

January 15, 2018
With advances in cancer immunotherapy splashing across headlines, the immune system's powerful cancer assassins—T cells—have become dinner-table conversation. But hiding in plain sight behind that "T" is the organ from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.