Researchers at Harvard Medical School have adapted RNA interference (RNAi) techniques for use against neurological diseases. Manjunath Swamy's team mixed therapeutic RNA with a benign segment of the rabies virus to come up with a treatment that could get through the blood/brain barrier to treat infected cells. The process was tested on mice infected with the fatal viral encephalitis. About 80 percent of the infected mice were cured while all of the mice in the control arm died. Swamy says that the pace of the research should advance swiftly, with human trials in neurological diseases coming in five years. This approach could be used to treat a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer's as well as a variety of cancers. RNAi has become one of the hottest research areas in drug discovery, especially since Andrew Fire and Craig Mello won the Nobel prize last year for their work in the field.
- check out the report from The Guardian