Solutions in… Nanoparticles
Chad A. Mirkin, Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, discusses why spherical nucleic acids are so exciting for drug development
Maryam Mahdi | | Quick Read
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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