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Scientists Will Test a Cancer-Hunting mRNA Treatment

By February 1, 2024No Comments

As the first vaccines for Covid-19 rolled out at the end of 2020, messenger RNA catapulted into public awareness. Now, a few years later, interest in mRNA has exploded. Clinical trials are underway for dozens of mRNA vaccines, including ones for flu and herpes. And scientists are hoping to use mRNA to treat disease, not just prevent it. One of the biggest targets is cancer.

But a major obstacle is how to deliver the molecule to the place in the body that needs to be treated. Fatty bubbles called lipid nanoparticles can carry RNA into cells, and they can ferry it to a wide range of tissues but not to anywhere specific. That’s a problem for cancer, says Jake Becraft, cofounder and CEO of Boston-based Strand Therapeutics, because many cancer treatments “can be incredibly toxic in off-target tissues.” But his company may have found a solution.