AUG 12, 2016 02:35 PM PDT

Coaxing the Body to Make Its Own Medicines

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

DNA is often referred to as the ‘blueprint of life,' as it encodes the instructions for cells to grow, divide, and specialize - forming whole organisms. Arguably, the instructions tell cells how to make proteins crucial to these tasks. And proteins are quite important to normal cell functions. Indeed, deficiency of just a single protein can cause some severe and debilitating diseases.

A traditional treatment method for these types conditions has been to introduce artificial proteins back into the body (known as enzyme replacement therapy). But this has known efficacy limitations because artificial proteins can never fully replicate the power of body-made proteins.

To solve this problem, a Cambridge startup, known as Moderna Theraputics, wants to help people make medicines in their own cells. This involves treating patients with messenger RNA (mRNA) to trigger the body to make therapeutic proteins. Watch the video to find out how Moderna mRNAs are able to get past the body's immune system and to open a whole new field of truly ‘personalized' medicine.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 15, 2018
Videos
SEP 15, 2018
Nature's Giant Genomes
We have around three billion base pairs in our genome. There are some organisms with far more....
SEP 16, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2018
If You Thought T. Rex Was Big, Then Watch This
Dinosaur-themed Hollywood movies have hyped up Tyrannosaurus Rex, making it seem like the king of all dinosaurs. But realistically, T. Rex was quite small...
SEP 24, 2018
Videos
SEP 24, 2018
The Science of Being Transgender
Gender identity is an issue that some have trouble understanding. It’s not always about male or female, because gender can encompass more than those...
SEP 27, 2018
Videos
SEP 27, 2018
Should Governments Get Involved in Obesity?
Obesity is a growing problem, for children as well as for adults. In the UK, there is a concern about the rates of childhood obesity. Public health officia...
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Learning how Bacterial Chemicals Impact Human Health
We play host to a huge number of microbes, and all the chemicals that they produce....
OCT 18, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 18, 2018
Lake Karachay The Most Radioactively Polluted Place on Earth
Located next to a Soviet's plutonium fuel processing center, Lake Karachay a small lake in Central Russia was considered the world' most conta...
Loading Comments...