Mirus Bio announces new RNAi tool to analyse gene function

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gene Dna Genetics

Mirus Bio has made available a new RNAi tool that analyses gene
function in vivo that allows scientists to study the biological and
physiological impact of a change in gene expression, which is
useful in the identification of new therapeutic drug targets.

The technique has special applications for those involved in studying metabolic diseases, toxicology, liver cancer, and other related fields. Protocols are also available to study gene expression and/or suppression in other tissues.

The technique utilises the company's proprietary hydrodynamic injection technology to introduce small interfering RNA (siRNA) to the liver of animal models, resulting in the suppression of target gene activity.

As proof of its effectiveness the Mirus Bio team in collaboration with Rosetta Inpharmatics utilised siRNA to suppress Ppara, an endogenous gene involved in regulating fatty acid metabolism, and demonstrated that the technique caused molecular and phenotypic changes that were highly comparable to those which occur in knockout mice.

"This represents an exciting new component of our expanding portfolio of in vivo and in vitro discovery research tools for use in key target cells and tissues,"​ said James Hagstrom, vice president of Scientific Operations and one of Mirus Bio's co-founders.

"Together with our labelling chemistries, our products are highly valued by investigators pursuing genetic research in diseases of liver, joint and skeletal muscle."

The conventional method of doing in vivo genetic analysis is to utilise "knockout" animals, which are animals, which have been genetically engineered from birth to lack a gene necessary for production of a protein of interest.

While this is a powerful technique, one can only study genes that are not embryonically lethal.

In addition, it can take months to years to generate and breed such animals at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and can only practically be used in a few strains of mice.

The new technique developed at Mirus Bio bypasses these hurdles and enables any gene to be studied in a matter of weeks at a fraction of the cost.

This new technique is described in detail in the August 31, 2006 Advanced Access service of the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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