Friday, November 23, 2018

RNA Therapy on Preeclampsia

Multiple complications can occur during pregnancy. One rare and risky complication is preeclampsia, which occurs when the placenta releases too much protein into a woman’s bloodstream resulting in high blood pressure. If untreated, it can cause death for mothers and their unborn fetus. Luckily scientist begun working on a way to prevent preeclampsia.

RNA silencing is a technique that has been proven to work on monkeys. It’s purpose is to turn off deleterious genes. Developing this technique required animal testing. A team of scientists injected preeclampsia into baboons causing them to produce more of the FLT protein. They then injected them with the RNA therapy. Afterwards they found that injected baboons produced less FLT in the placenta and had lower blood pressure. But their babies were born smaller than average. More research is needed to identify the proper dosage. Now another team are working on testing this same technique but on mice and are targeting a different protein.

While this isn’t an approved therapy on humans, it does offer some benefits. The injection is programmed to avoid the placenta area since it only targets the FLT protein. Also it takes just one injection for the treatment to work. This is beneficial for woman who do not have an easy and accessible route to medical providers.

I believe this is a promising beginning to treating preeclampsia and similar complications. The avenue of targeting specific genes is a practical method in avoiding targeting normal and non infected genes. As scientists begin to solidify their techniques on targeting the FLT protein than constructing a therapy for other genes can be done as well that also avoid the placenta subsequently saving many lives.


1 comment:

  1. Targeting the FLT protein in women sounds like a revolutionary idea. Preeclampsia affects thousands, if not millions of women, especially women in what is considered geriatric pregnancies, so a solution to put women's minds at ease during delivery would be helpful.