News from the BioCity Campus

Leipzig pharmacologists are researching molecules against prostate cancer

A research group led by the pharmacologist Prof. Dr. Achim Aigner from the University of Leipzig has now developed an experimental therapy model with so-called RNA molecules to inhibit tumor growth. The findings are based on a joint study by scientists from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the University of Leipzig, which was funded by the Wilhelm Sander Foundation.

MicroRNAs, or miRNAs for short, are small RNA molecules that in principle represent interesting pharmacological agents for therapeutic use, since certain miRNAs can suppress tumor growth. However, miRNAs are initially completely unsuitable as pharmaceuticals: As molecules, they are relatively large, very unstable and only reach their site of action in the body with great difficulty. Therefore, the scientists first have to convert the miRNAs into suitable active forms and package them in nanoparticles, for example. The research group led by Prof. Achim Aigner from the Rudolf Boehm Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology, Clinical Pharmacology has developed such specific nanoparticles.

In the experimental therapy model of the mouse, the Leipzig working group was able to prove that such nanoparticle-packaged microRNAs, here the so-called miR-143, actually inhibit tumor growth. In further studies, the scientists will combine the therapy model with current clinical forms of therapy, such as hormone suppression or chemotherapy. Long-term goals are to make the treatment of prostate cancer more effective, to further improve the nanoparticles and to make them more tolerable in terms of side effects.

Original publications in

"Science Direct": Exploring the MIR143-UPAR Axis for the Inhibition of Human Prostate Cancer Cells In Vitro and In Vivo. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids 16, 272-283. DOI:10.1016/j.omtn.2019.02.020 

“Drug Delivery of siRNA Therapeutics” "Polymeric Nanoparticles Based on Tyrosine-Modified, Low Molecular Weight Polyethylenimines for siRNA Delivery", DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11110600.

Source: Press release from the University of Leipzig from June 21.04.2020th, XNUMX

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