Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy

Multifunctional aptamer-miRNA conjugates for targeted cancer therapy.

PMID 24441398


While microRNAs (miRNAs) clearly regulate multiple pathways integral to disease development and progression, the lack of safe and reliable means for specific delivery of miRNAs to target tissues represents a major obstacle to their broad therapeutic application. Our objective was to explore the use of nucleic acid aptamers as carriers for cell-targeted delivery of a miRNA with tumor suppressor function, let-7g. Using an aptamer that binds to and antagonizes the oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase Axl (GL21.T), here we describe the development of aptamer-miRNA conjugates as multifunctional molecules that inhibit the growth of Axl-expressing tumors. We conjugated the let-7g miRNA to GL21.T and demonstrate selective delivery to target cells, processing by the RNA interference machinery, and silencing of let-7g target genes. Importantly, the multifunctional conjugate reduced tumor growth in a xenograft model of lung adenocarcinoma. Therefore, our data establish aptamer-miRNA conjugates as a novel tool for targeted delivery of miRNAs with therapeutic potential.