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Discovery & Development Drug Discovery, Drug Delivery

Solutions in… Nanoparticles

Invented in 1996 by the Mirkin Lab at Northwestern University, spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) have the potential to treat a vast array of diseases. Now, a group led by their inventor aims to optimize these nanoparticles for immunotherapies using a new machine learning technique (1). Chad A. Mirkin, Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, tells us more...

What are SNAs?
SNAs are nanoparticle structures made by chemically arranging nucleic acids (biomolecules essential for life) on a spherical nanoparticle core. Despite having no known natural equivalent, they are able to interact with living systems in usual ways. Most notably, they enter cells rapidly, and in large quantities, and resist degradation by enzymes. 

We’ve observed SNA activity in the brain, a commonly hard-to-access tissue, upon intravenous injection. In addition, they enter the skin, eye, lung, and lymphatic system when topically or locally administered. These properties have made SNAs attractive as gene regulation agents, and as structures for modulating the immune system, making it possible for them to be used as nucleic acid medicines for the last decade.
 

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About the Author

Maryam Mahdi

Assistant Editor

After finishing my degree, I envisioned a career in science communications. However, life took an unexpected turn and I ended up teaching abroad. Though the experience was amazing and I learned a great deal from it, I jumped at the opportunity to work for Texere. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me!

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