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Exploiting Nanotechnology for the Development of MicroRNA-Based Cancer Therapeutics

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs/miRs) represent a novel class of small non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression by base pairing with complementary sequences in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of target mRNAs. Functional studies suggest that miRNAs control almost every biological process, and their aberrant expression leads to a disease state, such as cancer. Differential expression of miRNAs in cancerous versus normal cells have generated enormous interest for the development of miRNA-based cancer cell-targeted therapeutics. Depending on the miRNA function and expression in cancer, two types of miRNA-based therapeutic strategies can be utilized that either restore or inhibit miRNA function through exogenous delivery of miRNAs mimics or inhibitors (anti-miRs). However, hydrophilic nature of miRNA mimics/anti-miRs, sensitivity to nuclease degradation in serum, poor penetration and reduced uptake by the tumor cells are chief hurdles in accomplishing their efficient in vivo delivery. To overcome these barriers, several nanotechnology-based systems are being developed and tested for delivery efficacy. This review summarizes the importance of miRNAs-based therapeutics in cancer, associated translational challenges and novel nanotechnology-assisted delivery systems that hold potential for next-generation miRNA-based cancer therapeutics.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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