RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful technique for silencing the expression of genes and has been described as the most important scientific advance in recent years. But its potential to treat or prevent disease in live animals has thus far been unproven.
In the March issue of Nature Medicine, Judy Lieberman and her colleagues report for the first time that RNAi can successfully prevent liver injury and death in a mouse model of hepatitis.
The researchers used RNAi to silence Fas, which is implicated in a wide array of liver diseases, including autoimmune, viral and transplant rejection hepatitis. Intravenously injecting inhibitory RNAs against Fas, without the need for a delivery vector or virus, allowed mice to survive in two models of autoimmune hepatitis, the researchers report.
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Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza