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NIH Awards Grant to Purdue Researcher for Innovative Cancer Treatment Research


Andrea Kasinski, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Deputy Director of the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research has been awarded two significant grants from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NIH-NCI) to advance groundbreaking research in cancer treatment. She will be collaborating with Andrea dos Santos, Associate Professor of Comparative Pathobiology, and Philip Low, Professor of Chemistry.

The funded studies aim to further de-risk the use of small RNAs for the treatment of various cancers. Kasinski's team's work marks the first utilization of a full modification pattern to stabilize the tumor suppressive microRNA, miR-34a. By introducing stabilizing modifications, the half-life of the RNA is prolonged, resulting in more potent and sustained effects with reduced and less frequent dosing. Additionally, the team pioneered the use of small molecule ligands to deliver the RNAs, effectively eliminating toxic delivery vehicles.

The objectives of the two funded R01 applications are twofold: first, to enhance the circulation kinetics of the ligand-miR-34a conjugates by incorporating an albumin binding moiety, which reduces renal clearance, and second, to employ a new ligand with more favorable dissociation kinetics for the delivery of miR-34a to triple negative breast cancer.

"The potential impact of our work is significant," said Kasinski. "Recent advances in RNAi have paved the way for innovative treatments like Givlaari®, the first RNAi drug delivered through direct ligand-conjugated chemistry. However, while Givlaari® effectively targets the liver, there are currently no FDA-approved RNAi drugs targeted to cancer cells. Our research aims to change that by leveraging the therapeutic potential of miR-34a."

"These grants underscores Purdue's commitment to cutting-edge cancer research," said Peristera Paschou, Interim Head of Purdue's Department of Biological Sciences. "Integrating Biology across multiple scales we seek to understand complex biological systems and drive innovation in the Life Sciences."


About the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University

Purdue University's Department of Biological Sciences is committed to conducting innovative research that addresses pressing challenges in the life sciences. What we do is biology at scales. With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and cutting-edge technologies, our faculty and students are at the forefront of discovery and innovation. We provide life changing education and game changing research. Learn more at



Writer: Alisha Referda,

Source: Andrea Kasinski,
Peristeria Paschou,

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