Biochemistry, Biological Chemistry, Biology, Cancer Research
University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center
The central goal of the Siegwart Lab is to use materials chemistry to solve challenges in cancer therapy and diagnosis. In particular, we are focused on the development of new materials that can deliver ribonucleic acids (RNAs) to improve cancer outcomes. An array of coding and non-coding RNAs can now be used as cancer therapeutics (siRNA, miRNA, mRNA, CRISPR RNAs) because they are able to manipulate and edit expression of the essential genes that drive cancer development and progression. For example, gene silencing via the RNA Interference (RNAi) mechanism is a promising strategy to treat cancer. However, the success of short interfering RNA (siRNA) or microRNA (miRNA)-based therapies has been limited by the difficulty of delivering these highly anionic biomacromolecular drugs into cells. Moreover, the potential of CRISPR/Cas, a revolutionary gene editing technology, is currently hindered by the lack of safe and effective synthetic delivery systems.