Delivery of chemo-sensitizing siRNAs to HER2+-breast cancer cells using RNA aptamers.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression in breast cancer is associated with an aggressive phenotype and poor prognosis, making it an appealing therapeutic target. Trastuzumab, an HER2 antibody-based inhibitor, is currently the leading targeted treatment for HER2(+)-breast cancers. Unfortunately, many patients inevitably develop resistance to the therapy, highlighting the need for alternative targeted therapeutic options. In this study, we used a novel, cell-based selection approach for isolating 'cell-type specific', 'cell-internalizing RNA ligands (aptamers)' capable of delivering therapeutic small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to HER2-expressing breast cancer cells. RNA aptamers with the greatest specificity and internalization potential were covalently linked to siRNAs targeting the anti-apoptotic gene, Bcl-2. We demonstrate that, when applied to cells, the HER2 aptamer-Bcl-2 siRNA conjugates selectively internalize into HER2(+)-cells and silence Bcl-2 gene expression. Importantly, Bcl-2 silencing sensitizes these cells to chemotherapy (cisplatin) suggesting a potential new therapeutic approach for treating breast cancers with HER2(+)-status. In summary, we describe a novel cell-based selection methodology that enables the identification of cell-internalizing RNA aptamers for targeting therapeutic siRNAs to HER2-expressing breast cancer cells. The future refinement of this technology may promote the widespread use of RNA-based reagents for targeted therapeutic applications.
Thiel, KW; Hernandez, LI; Dassie, JP; Thiel, WH; Liu, X; Stockdale, KR; Rothman, AM; Hernandez, FJ; McNamara, JO; Giangrande, PH
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