Nanoengineered Lotion Delivers Gene Therapy Through the Skin
It uses agglomerations of nucleic acids, each about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. When dispersed in a topical lotion, the nucleic acid clumps can breach all the skin’s layers. Once they’re inside the cells, they can selectively turn off disease-causing genes. The acid agglomerates can distinguish between healthy and mutant genes, like those that can cause cancer.
The acid clumps are actually small interfering RNA, also known as siRNA, which can regulate gene activity. They are highly customizable, and can be programmed to target a specific gene. In this case, the researchers studied epidermal growth factor receptor, which is associated with certain types of cancer. The RNA particles surround a tiny gold nanoparticle, forming a dense sphere. The resulting “nanostructure” can break through the skin entirely, and the RNAs broke down the EGFR gene.
(via A Topically Applied Skin Lotion That Modifies Your Genes | Popular Science)