One of the new trends I've noticed recently has been the uptick in research on RNAi in basic oncology research.  While searching for some information, this news release popped up from this morning:

"Tekmira and Pfizer will collaborate on evaluating Tekmira's stable nucleic acid-lipid particle (SNALP) technology to deliver small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules provided by Pfizer. Tekmira will be responsible for preparing the SNALP formulations and Pfizer will evaluate the formulations in preclinical models. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed."


Furthermore, the release went to explain more about RNAi technology:

"RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat a broad number of human diseases by "silencing" disease causing genes. The discoverers of RNAi, a gene silencing mechanism used by all cells, were awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi therapeutics, such as "siRNAs," require delivery technology to be effective systemically. Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are one of the most widely used siRNA delivery approaches for systemic administration. 

Tekmira's SNALP (stable nucleic acid-lipid particles) technology is the leading class of LNPs being used in clinical development. SNALP technology encapsulates siRNAs with high efficiency in uniform lipid nanoparticles which are effective in delivering RNAi therapeutics to disease sites in numerous preclinical models."

April heralds the annual AACR meeting in DC and while browsing the program last night, it was clear that this is an emerging area.   More on RNAi technology developments will be updated after the meeting next month; it looks like a fascinating new platform that is well worth exploring.  

Of course, this is not news to my cancer researcher buddies, many of whom have been working in this area for some time, but it's always good to see things begin to reach the more mainstream consciousness too.  Novel nanotechnology ideas were discussed at the AACR Molecular Targets meeting last November so we'll see what the next meeting brings.

If anyone is going to AACR in DC, do let me know – it would be great to meet up in person.