A new nuclear microRNA is being developed for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases

A new angiogenic microRNA drug may be a new option for the treatment of ischemic cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with international collaborators. In the study, the researchers describe a new nuclear-acting microRNA.

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression. Their canonical role is gene silencing by targeting messenger RNAs in the cell cytoplasm. However, this new microRNA, miR-466c, has a different mechanism of action. It upregulates vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) by targeting the gene promoter in the cell nucleus.

In addition to expanding academic understanding of microRNA biology, these findings have commercial relevance for the development of new RNA-based drugs. Increasing VEGFA expression using small RNAs offers new options for the treatment of ischemic cardiovascular diseases, where blood supply to tissues is compromised.

“RNA activation as a phenomenon has already been known for 16 years, but its commercial potential has only recently been recognized,” says Assistant Professor Mikko Turunen, President of newly founded RNatives, which will commercialize the patented microRNA drug.

“Our patented microRNA drug has several advantages over traditional means of increasing gene expression. First, by activating the cell’s own therapeutic gene (e.g., VEGFA), all the different forms of gene splicing are properly produced. Also, being a small RNA, it is much less immunogenic and more stable than longer RNAs, such as mRNA-based drugs,” says Turunen.

In addition to RNA-based drugs, RNatives is developing engineered exosomes for delivery of these RNAs to patients.

Source of the story:

Material provided by University of Eastern Finland. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Irene B. Bowles