Thursday, September 15, 2016

Spherical RNA Therapy: The New Approach to Genetic Disease

DNA, RNA, tRNA, mRNA. All of these terms have been repeated multiple times in any Biology class taken. But what about SNA? Researchers have come up with a new type of RNA therapy that could essentially be effective in fighting multiple genetic diseases. Spherical nucleic acid, otherwise known as SNA, is the most recent breakthrough in RNA therapy with a very promising outlook.

New SNA drugs with RNA strands around a fatty lipid core could open a new front in combating psoriasis and other genetic diseases.
After DNA is coded for in a cell, it is translated into messenger RNA, or mRNA, which then sends the coded information to the ribosomes. From the coded information, amino acids are formed and from there, the proteins for the cell are synthesized. However, too much protein build up in a cell causes problems that lead to genetic disease. Researchers, in this case, have focused mainly on psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which red scaly skin develops mostly on the knees, elbows, and other spots on the body.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted a conference in which they presented the findings on the effects of SNAs on psoriasis. SNAs are spherical and they're composed of identical RNA fragments attached to a central lipid. They go into a cell so they aren't broken up like other RNA fragments. Once the researchers code the SNA to a specific protein, the SNA blocks production of that protein. After doing a trial on the effect of SNAs on people with psoriasis, researchers found that they are considered to be safe. Eventually, researchers hope to find a way to use SNAs as a cure for psoriasis and other genetic diseases.
At the ACS meeting last week, SNA pioneer and Exicure Founder Chad Mirkin of Northwestern University, Evanston, in Illinois, told his audience that the initial trial results suggest that SNAs are safe. What’s more, there appears to be a dose-dependent response in knocking down TNF-╬▒, which raises hopes that doctors will be able to find a curative dose.
I feel that this is a very important breakthrough in the journey to finding ways to fight or, hopefully, cure multiple genetic diseases. If SNAs can possibly help cure psoriasis at some point, this could lead to curing cancer or other diseases in which protein buildup is a problem. I find this article to be very interesting in the field of genetics and health.


  1. This is amazing how SNA's would be responsible for eliminating all protein based diseases, eventually terminating all viral diseases which are proteinous in nature if SNA's can help cure psoriasis.

  2. Woah. Hopefully more will be discovered about SNA and protein-based degenerative disorders. Alzheimers would be an interesting one, being as it's thought to be caused by an accumulation of misfolded myloid beta protein in Alzheimer patient's brain.

  3. I find it really fascinating how SNA blocks the proteins and was found to help psoriasis. This is a start to helping people who suffer from protein-based genetic diseases.

  4. This is an amazing discovery. Hopefully SNA's can be used to cure psoriasis and many other protein-based genetic disorders and most importantly, that it remains risk-free in further research.