Scientists create nano-size packets of genetic code aimed at brain cancer 'seed' cells
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IMAGE: Nanoparticles releasing microRNAs (light blue) inside a human brain cancer cell. Credit: Yuan Rui, Johns Hopkins view more 

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Credit: Yuan Rui, Johns Hopkins

In a “proof of concept” study, scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine say they have successfully delivered nano-size packets of genetic code called microRNAs to treat human brain tumors implanted in mice. The contents of the super-small containers were designed to target cancer stem cells, a kind of cellular “seed” that produces countless progeny and is a relentless barrier to ridding the brain of malignant cells.

Results of their experiments were published online June 21 in Nano Letters.

Nano Letters

“Brain cancer is one of the most widely understood cancers in terms of its genetic makeup, but we have yet to develop a good treatment for it,” says John Laterra, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, oncology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “The resilience of cancer stem cells and the blood-brain barrier are major hurdles.”

John Laterra, M.D., Ph.D.

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