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Sensible Antisense RNA Modifications


This is the first Haystack post from C&EN Intern Aaron Rowe. You may recognize Aaron from Twitter (@soychemist) or from his contributions to WIRED and its science blog.

Isis Pharmaceuticals showed off its latest strategy for improving the potency and pharmacokinetics of antisense oligonucleotides at its annual shareholder meeting, held last week. Their structure, called cET (structure at bottom right), should bring the size of a dose down to 5-40 mg per week and allow oral delivery of antisense molecules for some diseases. In its drugs, Isis uses a mix of several different modifications. They call these molecules gapmers. For instance, its cholesterol-lowering phase 3 compound, mipomersen (molecular model at top), has 2’-methoxyethyl modifications on each end (see structure at bottom left) and central DNA region, and it also has a phosphorothioate backbone. The newer cEt modification will be featured in a cancer drug that targets STAT3, a transcription factor that is overactive in many different malignancies. Here’s more on the cET story.

2 Comments

  • Jun 24th 201105:06
    by See Arr Oh

    Hey there, Aaron! Welcome to the party!

    I’ve read your stuff in Wired (including the latest about Tesla coils) so I’m excited to have you in our corner.

  • Jun 25th 201104:06
    by See Arr Oh

    Hey Aaron! Welcome to the party…

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