Partnership will develop targeted miRNAs to treat pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer cells

SiSaf is to collaborate with the University of Leipzig, Germany, to develop targeted micro interfering RNAs (miRNA) for the treatment of cancer, with an initial focus on pancreatic cancer.  

The collaboration will combine SiSaf’s expertise in RNA delivery using its Bio-Courier silicon-stabilised hybrid lipid nanoparticles (sshLNPs) and the University of Leipzig’s expertise in miRNA targeting and therapeutic approaches in cancer, led by Professor Achim Aigner. 

SiSaf will develop miRNA Bio-Courier formulations that will be tested in pancreatic cancer models in Professor Aigner’s laboratory. Under the terms of the agreement SiSaf has an exclusive option to acquire a worldwide license to a patent by the University. 

miRNAs are involved in the regulation of various physiological and pathological processes. In tumours, aberrant down regulation of given miRNAs may result in pathological overexpression of oncogenes, rendering miRNA replacement a promising therapeutic strategy.  

Professor Aigner and his team have demonstrated the tumour-inhibitory potential of miR506-3p and miR24-3p in animal models of pancreatic cancer.  

A major bottleneck in miRNA replacement is their efficient delivery. The aim of the collaboration is to develop a replacement therapy combining both miR506-3p and miR24-3p for a more powerful effect, using SiSaf’s Bio-Courier drug delivery platform that leverages the unique properties of elemental silicon to optimise lipid nanoparticle technology for RNA therapeutics.  

Professor Achim Aigner, Clinical Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at Leipzig University, said “Due to their parallel, selective effects on multiple defined targets, miRNAs offer exceptional opportunities for the development of novel drugs that show enhanced efficacy while avoiding tumour cell resistance. Also, miRNAs act on messenger RNAs rather than proteins, thus providing innovative treatment avenues.” 

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