Synthetic mRNA nanoparticles restore tumor suppressor gene

In preclinical experiments, investigators restored p53 using synthetic mRNA nanoparticles, making lung and liver cancer cells susceptible to available cancer drugs.


The tumor suppressor gene p53, also known as the guardian of the genome, plays a critical function in preventing cancer. Because of its powerful role, it is one of the most commonly compromised genes in cancer.

Investigators have long sought a way to restore the activity of tumor suppressor genes such as p53. Most recently, attention has turned to an approach developed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital that uses nanotechnology to deliver synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA). Leveraging advancements in nanotechnology, investigators from the Brigham have found that restoring p53 not only delays the growth of p53-deficient liver and lung cancer cells but may also make tumors more vulnerable to cancer drugs known as mTOR inhibitors. The team’s findings are published in Science Translational Medicine.

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