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
NOV 01, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 01, 2018
Mid-air Chemistry Experiment Opens Up a New Era in Metal-organic Frameworks Research
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are molecules with network structures made of metal ion cores coordinated to organic ligands. Due to their high internal su...
NOV 06, 2018
Videos
NOV 06, 2018
Towards a Universal Flu Vaccine
Researchers have to design a new flu vaccine every year. But there are efforts to create a vaccine that works against all strains....
NOV 11, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 11, 2018
Stop Procrastinating, It's Not Good for You
Procrastination is common, but some people procrastinate much more than others. Those who do it persistently probably exhibit something known as chronic pr...
NOV 25, 2018
Earth & The Environment
NOV 25, 2018
What Would Happen if An Asteroid Slammed Into One of Earth's Oceans?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if an asteroid plopped right into one of Earth’s oceans? Curious researchers wanted to know too, and so they...
DEC 03, 2018
Cancer
DEC 03, 2018
Using bubbly nano-particles for chemotherapy delivery
We have all heard about the harsh side effects of chemotherapy that could be so difficult leading to stopping treatment. The reason behind those side effects is that chemotherapy drugs do tar...
DEC 03, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 03, 2018
Why Do Some Men Have Trouble Growing Beards?
There are two types of men in this world: those that can grow robust beards, and those that can’t. But why is it that some men get stuck with patchy,...
Loading Comments...