microRNAs are molecules which act as global regulators and control gene function in normal cells. They control many genes and their altered expression or loss from normal cells can result in the development of diseases, including cancer.
We have found that miRNA mimics can be loaded into EDVs and delivered back into tumor cells, thus replacing the defective or missing miRNA, and restoring normal cell function i.e. controlling proliferation or inhibiting oncogenic pathways.
It has been shown that malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) cells showed a marked reduction in miRNA-16 when compared to normal pleural cells. EDVs loaded with mir16 and targeted to EGFR on MPM cells dramatically inhibited the growth of the cells. Moreover, targeting these EDVs to MPM mouse xenografts resulted in dramatic anti-tumor effects.
These findings have resulted in our ongoing Phase I clinical trial in MPM patients who have run out of treatment options.