An international research team has developed a novel technique for delivering aptamers inside tumor cells. As reported in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics a group of researchers from Krasnoyarsk State Medical University in Russia, the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and the University of Ottawa, combined the polysaccharide arabinogalactan with a DNA drug that binds to and disrupts the activity of vimentin, a structural protein required for cell division. Vimentin is often over-produced by tumor cells compared to normal cells.

In the article “DNA-Aptamer Targeting Vimentin for Tumor Therapy in Vivo,” the authors show that an aptamer targeting vimentin inhibits tumor growth more effectively when it is administered as a mixture with arabinogalactan than alone.

“The mixture of arabinogalactan and [aptamer] NAS-24 was injected intraperitoneally for five days into mice with adenocarcinoma and inhibited adenocarcinoma growth more effectively than free arabinogalactan or the aptamer alone,” wrote the investigators. “The use of aptamers to intracellular targets together with arabinogalactan becomes a promising approach for anticancer therapy.”

“This work demonstrates the advancement of aptamer therapeutic application through increased bioavailability using a nontoxic polysaccharide-based therapy,” says Graham C. Parker, Ph.D., executive editor of the journal.

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