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Archive for the ‘mRNA Therapeutics’ Category


Reporter and Curator: Irina Robu, PhD

Monitoring cancer patients and evaluating their response to treatment can sometimes involve invasive procedures, including surgery.

The liquid biopsies have become something of a Holy Grail in cancer treatment among physicians, researchers and companies gambling big on the technology. Liquid biopsies, unlike traditional biopsies involving invasive surgery — rely on an ordinary blood draw. Developments in sequencing the human genome, permitting researchers to detect genetic mutations of cancers, have made the tests conceivable. Some 38 companies in the US alone are working on liquid biopsies by trying to analyze blood for fragments of DNA shed by dying tumor cells.

Premature research on the liquid biopsy has concentrated profoundly on patients with later-stage cancers who have suffered treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, immunotherapy or drugs that target molecules involved in the growth, progression and spread of cancer. For cancer patients undergoing treatment, liquid biopsies could spare them some of the painful, expensive and risky tissue tumor biopsies and reduce reliance on CT scans. The tests can rapidly evaluate the efficacy of surgery or other treatment, while old-style biopsies and CT scans can still remain inconclusive as a result of scar tissue near the tumor site.

As recently as a few years ago, the liquid biopsies were hardly used except in research. At the moment, thousands of the tests are being used in clinical practices in the United States and abroad, including at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, San Francisco; the Duke Cancer Institute and several other cancer centers.

With patients for whom physicians cannot get a tissue biopsy, the liquid biopsy could prove a safe and effective alternative that could help determine whether treatment is helping eradicate the cancer. A startup, Miroculus developed a cheap, open source device that can test blood for several types of cancer at once. The platform, called Miriam finds cancer by extracting RNA from blood and spreading it across plates that look at specific type of mRNA. The technology is then hooked up at a smartphone which sends the information to an online database and compares the microRNA found in the patient’s blood to known patterns indicating different type of cancers in the early stage and can reduce unnecessary cancer screenings.

Nevertheless, experts warn that more studies are essential to regulate the accuracy of the test, exactly which cancers it can detect, at what stages and whether it improves care or survival rates.

SOURCE

https://www.fastcompany.com/3037117/a-new-device-can-detect-multiple-types-of-cancer-with-a-single-blood-test

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4356857/

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Publishing Journal include the following:

Liquid Biopsy Chip detects an array of metastatic cancer cell markers in blood – R&D @Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Micro and Nanotechnology Lab

Reporters: Tilda Barliya, PhD and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/12/28/liquid-biopsy-chip-detects-an-array-of-metastatic-cancer-cell-markers-in-blood-rd-worcester-polytechnic-institute-micro-and-nanotechnology-lab/

Liquid Biopsy Assay May Predict Drug Resistance

Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/06/liquid-biopsy-assay-may-predict-drug-resistance/

One blood sample can be tested for a comprehensive array of cancer cell biomarkers: R&D at WPI

Curator: Marzan Khan, B.Sc

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/01/05/one-blood-sample-can-be-tested-for-a-comprehensive-array-of-cancer-cell-biomarkers-rd-wpi

 

 

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Regulatory MicroRNAs in Aberrant Cholesterol Transport and Metabolism

Curator: Marzan Khan, B.Sc

Aberrant levels of lipids and cholesterol accumulation in the body lead to cardiometabolic disorders such as atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of death in the Western World(1). The physical manifestation of this condition is the build-up of plaque along the arterial endothelium causing the arteries to constrict and resist a smooth blood flow(2). This obstructive deposition of plaque is merely the initiation of atherosclerosis and is enriched in LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) as well foam cells which are macrophages carrying an overload of toxic, oxidized LDL(2). As the condition progresses, the plaque further obstructs blood flow and creates blood clots, ultimately leading to myocardial infarction, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases(2). Therefore, LDL is referred to as “the bad cholesterol”(2).

Until now, statins are most widely prescribed as lipid-lowering drugs that inhibit the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3methylgutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the rate-limiting step in de-novo cholesterol biogenesis (1). But some people cannot continue with the medication due to it’s harmful side-effects(1). With the need to develop newer therapeutics to combat cardiovascular diseases, Harvard University researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital discovered 4 microRNAs that control cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose homeostasis(3)

MicroRNAs are non-coding, regulatory elements approximately 22 nucleotides long, with the ability to control post-transcriptional expression of genes(3). The liver is the center for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Stringent regulation of endogenous LDL-receptor (LDL-R) pathway in the liver is crucial to maintain a minimal concentration of LDL particles in blood(3). A mechanism whereby peripheral tissues and macrophages can get rid of their excess LDL is mediated by ATP-binding cassette, subfamily A, member 1 (ABCA1)(3). ABCA1 consumes nascent HDL particles- dubbed as the “good cholesterol” which travel back to the liver for its contents of triglycerides and cholesterol to be excreted(3).

Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) meta-analysis carried out by the researchers disclosed 4 microRNAs –(miR-128-1, miR-148a, miR-130b, and miR-301b) to lie close to single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with abnormal metabolism and transport of lipids and cholesterol(3) Experimental analyses carried out on relevant cell types such as the liver and macrophages have proven that these microRNAs bind to the 3’ UTRs of both LDL-R and ABCA1 transporters, and silence their activity. Overexpression of miR-128-1 and miR148a in mice models caused circulating HDL-C to drop. Corroborating the theory under investigation further, their inhibition led to an increased clearance of LDL from the blood and a greater accumulation in the liver(3).

That the antisense inhibition of miRNA-128-1 increased insulin signaling in mice, propels us to hypothesize that abnormal expression of miR-128-1 might cause insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome, and defective insulin signaling in hepatic steatosis and dyslipidemia(3)

Further examination of miR-148 established that Liver-X-Receptor (LXR) activation of the Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP1c), the transcription factor responsible for controlling  fatty acid production and glucose metabolism, also mediates the expression of miR-148a(4,5) That the promoter region of miR-148 contained binding sites for SREBP1c was shown by chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq)(4). More specifically, SREBP1c attaches to the E-box2, E-box3 and E-box4 elements on miR-148-1a promoter sites to control its expression(4).

Earlier, the same researchers- Andres Naars and his team had found another microRNA called miR-33 to block HDL generation, and this blockage to reverse upon antisense targeting of miR-33(6).

These experimental data substantiate the theory of miRNAs being important regulators of lipoprotein receptors and transporter proteins as well as underscore the importance of employing antisense technologies to reverse their gene-silencing effects on LDL-R and ABCA1(4). Such a therapeutic approach, that will consequently lower LDL-C and promote HDL-C seems to be a promising strategy to treat atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases(4).

References:

1.Goedeke L1,Wagschal A2,Fernández-Hernando C3, Näär AM4. miRNA regulation of LDL-cholesterol metabolism. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Dec;1861(12 Pt B):. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Dec;1861(12 Pt B):2047-2052

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26968099

2.MedicalNewsToday. Joseph Nordgvist. Atherosclerosis:Causes, Symptoms and Treatments. 13.08.2015

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247837.php

3.Wagschal A1,2, Najafi-Shoushtari SH1,2, Wang L1,2, Goedeke L3, Sinha S4, deLemos AS5, Black JC1,6, Ramírez CM3, Li Y7, Tewhey R8,9, Hatoum I10, Shah N11, Lu Y11, Kristo F1, Psychogios N4, Vrbanac V12, Lu YC13, Hla T13, de Cabo R14, Tsang JS11, Schadt E15, Sabeti PC8,9, Kathiresan S4,6,8,16, Cohen DE7, Whetstine J1,6, Chung RT5,6, Fernández-Hernando C3, Kaplan LM6,10, Bernards A1,6,16, Gerszten RE4,6, Näär AM1,2. Genome-wide identification of microRNAs regulating cholesterol and triglyceride homeostasis. . Nat Med.2015 Nov;21(11):1290

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26501192

4.Goedeke L1,2,3,4, Rotllan N1,2, Canfrán-Duque A1,2, Aranda JF1,2,3, Ramírez CM1,2, Araldi E1,2,3,4, Lin CS3,4, Anderson NN5,6, Wagschal A7,8, de Cabo R9, Horton JD5,6, Lasunción MA10,11, Näär AM7,8, Suárez Y1,2,3,4, Fernández-Hernando C1,2,3,4. MicroRNA-148a regulates LDL receptor and ABCA1 expression to control circulating lipoprotein levels. Nat Med. 2015 Nov;21(11):1280-9.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26437365

5.Eberlé D1, Hegarty B, Bossard P, Ferré P, Foufelle F. SREBP transcription factors: master regulators of lipid homeostasis. Biochimie. 2004 Nov;86(11):839-48.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15589694

6.Harvard Medical School. News. MicoRNAs and Metabolism.

https://hms.harvard.edu/news/micrornas-and-metabolism

7. MGH – Four microRNAs identified as playing key roles in cholesterol, lipid metabolism

http://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=1862

 

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

 

  • Cardiovascular Diseases, Volume Three: Etiologies of Cardiovascular Diseases: Epigenetics, Genetics and Genomics,

on Amazon since 11/29/2015

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018PNHJ84

 

HDL oxidation in type 2 diabetic patients

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/27/hdl-oxidation-in-type-2-diabetic-patients/

 

HDL-C: Target of Therapy – Steven E. Nissen, MD, MACC, Cleveland Clinic vs Peter Libby, MD, BWH

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/11/07/hdl-c-target-of-therapy-steven-e-nissen-md-macc-cleveland-clinic-vs-peter-libby-md-bwh/

 

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): An Independent Predictor of Endothelial Function & Atherosclerosis, A Modulator, An Agonist, A Biomarker for Cardiovascular Risk

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/31/high-density-lipoprotein-hdl-an-independent-predictor-of-endothelial-function-artherosclerosis-a-modulator-an-agonist-a-biomarker-for-cardiovascular-risk/

 

Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events by LDL-Cholesterol Level (mg/dL): Among those treated with high-dose statin therapy, more than 40% of patients failed to achieve an LDL-cholesterol target of less than 70 mg/dL.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD., RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/07/29/risk-of-major-cardiovascular-events-by-ldl-cholesterol-level-mgdl-among-those-treated-with-high-dose-statin-therapy-more-than-40-of-patients-failed-to-achieve-an-ldl-cholesterol-target-of-less-th/

 

LDL, HDL, TG, ApoA1 and ApoB: Genetic Loci Associated With Plasma Concentration of these Biomarkers – A Genome-Wide Analysis With Replication

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/12/18/ldl-hdl-tg-apoa1-and-apob-genetic-loci-associated-with-plasma-concentration-of-these-biomarkers-a-genome-wide-analysis-with-replication/

 

Two Mutations, in the PCSK9 Gene: Eliminates a Protein involved in Controlling LDL Cholesterol

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/04/15/two-mutations-in-a-pcsk9-gene-eliminates-a-protein-involve-in-controlling-ldl-cholesterol/

Artherogenesis: Predictor of CVD – the Smaller and Denser LDL Particles

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/15/artherogenesis-predictor-of-cvd-the-smaller-and-denser-ldl-particles/

 

A Concise Review of Cardiovascular Biomarkers of Hypertension

Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/04/25/a-concise-review-of-cardiovascular-biomarkers-of-hypertension/

 

Triglycerides: Is it a Risk Factor or a Risk Marker for Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease ? The Impact of Genetic Mutations on (ANGPTL4) Gene, encoder of (angiopoietin-like 4) Protein, inhibitor of Lipoprotein Lipase

Reporters, Curators and Authors: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN and Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/03/13/triglycerides-is-it-a-risk-factor-or-a-risk-marker-for-atherosclerosis-and-cardiovascular-disease-the-impact-of-genetic-mutations-on-angptl4-gene-encoder-of-angiopoietin-like-4-protein-that-in/

 

Excess Eating, Overweight, and Diabetic

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/15/excess-eating-overweight-and-diabetic/

 

Obesity Issues

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/12/obesity-issues/

 

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Dr. Doudna: RNA synthesis capabilities of Synthego’s team represent a significant leap forward for Synthetic Biology

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Synthego Raises $41 Million From Investors, Including a Top Biochemist

Synthego also drew in Dr. Doudna, who had crossed paths with the company’s head of synthetic biology at various industry conferences. According to Mr. Dabrowski, the money from her trust represents the single-biggest check from a non-institutional investor that the start-up has raised.

Synthego’s new funds will help the company take its products to a more global customer base, as well as broaden its offerings. The longer-term goal, Mr. Dabrowski said, is to help fully automate biotech research and take care of much of the laboratory work that scientists currently handle themselves.

The model is cloud technology, where companies rent out powerful remote server farms to handle their computing needs rather than rely on their own hardware.

“We’ll be able to do their full research workflow,” he said. “If you look at how cloud computing developed, it used to be that every company handled their server farm. Now it’s all handled in the cloud.”

SOURCE

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

UPDATED – Status “Interference — Initial memorandum” – CRISPR/Cas9 – The Biotech Patent Fight of the Century: UC, Berkeley and Broad Institute @MIT

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/06/status-interference-initial-memorandum-crisprcas9-the-biotech-patent-fight-of-the-century/

 

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The Complex Business Model for of the mRNA Therapeutics Sector of the Biotech Industry

Curator & Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

On its way for an IPO: mRNA platform, Moderna, Immune Oncology is recruiting 100 new Life Scientists in Cambridge, MA

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Moderna Therapeutics Deal with Merck: Are Personalized Vaccines here?

Curator & Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

 

at #JPM16 – Moderna Therapeutics turns away an extra $200 million: with AstraZeneca (collaboration) & with Merck ($100 million investment)

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Licensing Agreements for CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing Technology Patent

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Gritstone Oncology

 

 

Neon Therapeutics

 

Genentech dives into mRNA, betting $310M on BioNTech’s personalized cancer vaccine tech

 

The complexity of the technologies involved in development of mRNA Therapies is demonstrated by the Platform components and the ecosystem put in place by Moderna Therapeutics Inc., the leading venture in the mRNA Therapeutics Sector of the Biotech Industry

 

Moderna Therapeutics Inc.Corporate Facts

The Moderna Ecosystem

Messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™ hold the potential to transform medicine across multiple drug modalities and therapeutic areas. As the first mover and leading company in the space, our responsibility is to simultaneously advance promising internal development programs, while also mobilizing an entire ecosystem capable of propelling the field forward for patients.

Moderna Ventures

We form wholly-owned ventures to focus dedicated resources and staff in key disease areas where high unmet medical needs demand safe, efficacious and innovative therapies.

  • Onkaido, the first of Moderna’s ventures, formed as a wholly-owned subsidiary to develop mRNA drugs in oncology, is utilizing all of the tools and modalities developed at Moderna.
  • Valera, Moderna’s second venture, is focused on the advancement of vaccines and therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of viral and bacterial infectious diseases.
  • Elpidera, Moderna’s third venture, is focused exclusively on the advancement of mRNA-based treatments for rare diseases.
  • Caperna, Moderna’s fourth venture, is focused exclusively on the advancement of personalized vaccines for the treatment of cancer.

We are incubating additional ventures in diverse therapeutic areas, leveraging a cross-section of relevant modalities.

External Partnerships

Moderna is working with world leaders in key therapeutic areas where our mRNA Therapeutics™ can potentially have a profound impact on patients’ lives. We enjoy close and productive strategic agreements with:

  • AstraZeneca — mRNA Therapeutics focused on cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases as well as cancer;
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals — mRNA Therapeutics for rare diseases;
  • Merck — mRNA-based vaccines and passive immunity treatments against viral diseases, as well as mRNA-based personalized cancer vaccines for multiple types of cancer;
  • Vertex — mRNA Therapeutics for the treatment of cystic fibrosis;
  • DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) — mRNA-based antibody-producing drugs to protect against known and unknown emerging infectious diseases and engineered biological threats;
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — Combination of mRNA-based antibody therapeutics to help prevent HIV;
  • Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital — mRNA Therapeutics to treat serious diseases; and
  • Institut Pasteur — mRNA-based drugs and vaccines to fight infectious diseases.

SOURCE

http://www.modernatx.com/our-business-model

Drug Modalities

Building from our mRNA core expression platform, we have created a new scale of drug discovery and development that enables a series of new drug modalities. Each modality represents a distinct approach to using the mRNA platform to encode proteins that achieve a therapeutic benefit, enabling us to develop numerous drug candidates across a wide array of therapeutic areas.

Vaccines

Vaccines are substances that teach the immune system to rapidly recognize and destroy invading pathogens such as bacteria or viruses, preparing the body’s adaptive immunity for future exposure to the pathogen. Historically, vaccines have introduced immune-activating markers from pathogens into the body. Conversely, Moderna is developing mRNA-based vaccines that enable the body to produce and present immunogenic proteins to the immune system.

Moderna is also developing mRNA-based personalized cancer vaccines to prime the immune system to recognize cancer cells and mount a strong, tailored response to each individual patient’s cancer. Moderna’s technology allows for a rapid turn-around time in production of these unique mRNA vaccines.

Intracellular/Transmembrane

Many diseases are caused by defects in proteins that function inside cells. Existing methods of protein-based therapy do not allow for proteins to reach the intracellular space, and as such are unable to replace the defective, disease-causing proteins within cells. Moderna’s platform allows for the development of mRNA therapies that can stimulate production of intracellular proteins as well as transmembrane proteins. This could potentially lead to a novel approach to treating a vast array of rare genetic and other diseases caused by intracellular protein defects.

Intratumoral

Many targets for the treatment of cancer have been identified but their therapeutic potential has been limited by either the inability to access these targets, or by systemic toxicities. Moderna’s platform allows for localized expression of therapeutic proteins within the tumor microenvironment.

Secreted antibodies

Antibodies are secreted proteins that bind to and inhibit specific targets. Moderna’s platform has the potential to stimulate the body’s own cells to produce specific antibodies that can bind to cellular targets.

Secreted proteins

Proteins are large, complex molecules that have many critical functions both inside and outside of cells. Moderna’s platform stimulates cells to produce and secrete proteins that can have a therapeutic benefit through systemic exposure.

SOURCE

http://www.modernatx.com/about-our-pipeline/drug-modalities

Moderna’s mRNA Platform

At Moderna, we are pioneering the development of a new class of drugs made of messenger RNA (mRNA). This novel drug platform builds on the discovery that modified mRNA can direct the body’s cellular machinery to produce nearly any protein of interest, from native proteins to antibodies and other entirely novel protein constructs that can have therapeutic activity inside and outside of cells.

Our efforts are helping Moderna and the industry to flatten the mRNA learning curve across the full breadth of competencies needed to drive the platform forward, including chemistry, mRNA biology, formulation, process development, automation and high-throughput production, quality, and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing.

SOURCE

http://www.modernatx.com/our-mrna-platform

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