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Co-Transcriptional Assembly of Modified RNA Nanoparticles

The National Cancer Institute seeks parties interested to license a method to generate RNA molecules suitable for nanoparticle and biomedical applications.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • Drug Delivery
  • RNA
  • Nanoparticle
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing.
Description of Technology

The National Cancer Institute seeks parties interested in collaborative research to co-develop a method to generate RNA molecules suitable for nanoparticle and biomedical applications.

The development of nanoparticles as a method of drug delivery is paving the way for precise targeted therapy making it a more attractive and effective method for treating cancer. However, the current methods of designing RNA nanoparticles are limited by three factors: 1) the cost and size limitations associated with chemical synthesis of RNA; 2) the complexity of RNA nanoparticle production; and 3) low retention time of RNA nanoparticles in the patient bloodstream due to their susceptibility to nuclease degradation. 

NCI scientists have developed a method to overcome these challenges in RNA nanoparticle design. The method entails generating RNA nanoparticles having modified nucleotides and/or having increased nuclease resistance where the RNA nanoparticles are formed co-transcriptionally by T7 RNA polymerase in the presence of manganese ions. In essence, the technology results in high-yield production of chemically modified RNA nanoparticles functionalized with siRNAs that are resistant to nucleases from human blood serum

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Inexpensive and efficient method of producing chemically modified RNA nanoparticles for diagnostic or therapeutic applications.
Competitive Advantages
  • Reduces the cost and size limitations of solid-phase RNA synthesis.
  • Simplifies production of complex RNA nanoparticles.
  • Increases retention time of RNA nanoparticles.

Bruce A. Shapiro Ph.D. (NCI), Kirill A. Alfonin Ph.D., Maria L. Kireeva Ph.D., Mikhail Kashlev Ph.D.

Development Stage
  • Afonin KA, et al. [PMID 23016824]
  • Grabow WW, et al. "RNA Nanotechnology in Nanomedicine," in Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery (Recent Advances in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology), ed. M Sebastian, et al. (New Jersey: Apple Academic Press, 2012), 208-220. [Book Chapter]
Patent Status
  • Research Material: NIH will not pursue patent prosecution for this technology
Therapeutic Area
Thursday, June 7, 2018