- RNAi-based approach to target the expression of the embryonic stem cell genes NANOG or OCT4
- Exosome-mediated delivery of RNAi can be used to minimize toxicity
- Increases sensitivity to chemotherapy
Researchers at the University of Central Florida are developing RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapies for increasing the sensitivity of cancer stem cells to chemotherapy. Cancer stem cells are a specialized subset of tumor cells that are often resistant to cancer therapy. This technology targets the expression of the embryonic stem cell genes NANOG or OCT4 which are expressed in cancer stem cells, but not in healthy adult cells.
This technology downregulates the expression of NANOG or OCT4 using gene silencing molecules such as short hairpin RNA (shRNA) and small interfering RNA (siRNA). Targeting these genes increased cell death in cancer stem cells treated with the chemotherapy drug, Temozolomide in vitro. The gene silencing molecules may be delivered by exosomes, which are endogenous molecules, to limit immunogenicity and toxicity.
- Targets embryonic stem cell genes which may limit toxicity to healthy adult cells
- Use of exosomes, which are endogenous molecules, may minimize immunogenicity and toxicity
- Combination cancer therapy