Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Not your conventional nucleic acids: Spherical nucleic acids have novel properties that are perfect for biomedical applications

Date:
February 17, 2013
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Scientists have invented and developed a powerful nanomaterial that could revolutionize biomedicine: spherical nucleic acids (SNAs). The novel arrangement of nucleic acids imparts interesting chemical and physical properties that are very different from conventional nucleic acids. Potential applications include using SNAs to carry nucleic acid-based therapeutics to the brain for the treatment of glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, as well as other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Northwestern University's Chad A. Mirkin, a world-renowned leader in nanotechnology research and its application, has invented and developed a powerful material that could revolutionize biomedicine: spherical nucleic acids (SNAs).

Mirkin will discuss SNAs and their applications in therapeutics and diagnostics in a talk titled "Nanostructures in Biology and Medicine" at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston. His presentation is part of the symposium "Convergence of Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences: Next Innovation Economy."

Potential applications include using SNAs to carry nucleic acid-based therapeutics to the brain for the treatment of glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, as well as other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Mirkin is aggressively pursuing treatments for such diseases with Alexander H. Stegh, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"These structures are really quite spectacular and incredibly functional," Mirkin said. "People don't typically think about DNA in spherical form, but this novel arrangement of nucleic acids imparts interesting chemical and physical properties that are very different from conventional nucleic acids."

Spherical nucleic acids consist of densely packed, highly oriented nucleic acids arranged on the surface of a nanoparticle, typically gold or silver. The tiny non-toxic balls, each roughly 15 nanometers in diameter, can do things the familiar but more cumbersome double helix can't do:

  • SNAs can naturally enter cells and effect gene knockdown, making SNAs a superior tool for treating genetic diseases using gene regulation technology.
  • SNAs can easily cross formidable barriers in the human body, including the blood-brain barrier and the layers that make up skin.
  • SNAs don't elicit an immune response, and they resist degradation, resulting in longer lifetimes in the body.

"The field of medicine needs new constructs and strategies for treating disease," Mirkin said. "Many of the ways we treat disease are based on old methods and materials. Nanotechnology offers the ability to rapidly create new structures with properties that are very different from conventional forms of matter."

Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering. He is director of Northwestern's International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN).

Last year, Mirkin and Amy S. Paller, M.D., chair of dermatology and professor of pediatrics at Feinberg, were the first to demonstrate the use of commercial moisturizers to deliver gene regulation technology for skin cancer therapy. The drug, consisting of SNAs, penetrated the skin's layers and selectively targeted disease-causing genes while sparing normal genes.

"We now can go after a whole new set of diseases," Mirkin said. "Thanks to the Human Genome Project and all of the genomics research over the last two decades, we have an enormous number of known targets. And we can use the same tool for each, the spherical nucleic acid. We simply change the sequence to match the target gene. That's the power of gene regulation technology."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Not your conventional nucleic acids: Spherical nucleic acids have novel properties that are perfect for biomedical applications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084547.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2013, February 17). Not your conventional nucleic acids: Spherical nucleic acids have novel properties that are perfect for biomedical applications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084547.htm
Northwestern University. "Not your conventional nucleic acids: Spherical nucleic acids have novel properties that are perfect for biomedical applications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084547.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins