Nanoparticles for the targeted treatment of infected cells

Current treatments for cancer and viral infection are limited remedies that often suppress cell or viral replication rather than eliminate diseased cells entirely from the body. A further limitation is that these therapies often compromise healthy cells as well, leaving problems of recurrence and side effects.

Researchers at developed a novel therapeutic nanoparticle (NP) system harboring therapeutic small siRNA that can significantly enhance effectiveness and specificity of treatments by killing diseased cells.

Nanoparticles attached to RNA/DNA hybrids encode recognition sites for target genes and partial siRNA sequences of human anti-apoptotic genes. Individually, each of the hybrids is functionally inactive and functional representation can only be activated by the re-association of at least two cognate hybrids simultaneously present in the same cell. Overall, this novel approach allows each NP to have recognition sites for different target genes (e.g. viral genes in viral infection, abnormally regulated genes in cancer), providing versatile options for selecting cells to kill with far greater specificity. Besides therapeutic siRNA, RNA/DNA hybrids on NPs can encode fluorescent markers to specifically visualize the diseased cells.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Therapeutic siRNA for cancer and viral infections 
  • Diagnostic to visualize cancerous or virus-infected cells or track delivery and effectiveness of siRNA treatment.
  • Research tool to study cancer, viral infection, or other diseases
  • Novel way for multiple functionality delivery and activation
  • Enhanced chemical stability and pharmacokinetics due to the average size of nanoparticles exceeding 10nm
  • Increased specificity for selecting cells of interest  using more than one target gene

Development Stage:
Pre-clinical (in vivo)

Related Invention(s):


Bruce Shapiro (NCI)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
U.S. Pat: 9,631,192 issued 2017-04-25
U.S. Pat: 6,093,775 issued 2017-02-05

K.A. Afonin et al. PMID 23016824
W. Grabow et al. PMID 21229999
K.A. Afonin et al. PMID 22134126

Collaboration Opportunity:

Licensing and research collaboration

Licensing Contact:
John Hewes, Ph.D.
Phone: 240-276-5515

OTT Reference No: E-039-2012
Updated: Jun 8, 2018