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Researchers increase efficacy by 20x by engineering mRNAs with multiple ‘tails’




Researchers engineer mRNAs with multiple 'tails' to boost efficacy by 20x

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and MIT in the US has found that adding multiple “tails” to the new Messenger RNA (mRNA) structure can enhance its efficiency in cells by five to 20 times. mRNA, known for its role in Covid-19 vaccines, is being explored for use in treating other diseases like cancer as well.

The team engineered multi-tailed mRNAs, which were observed to last two to three times longer in animals compared to unmodified mRNA. Additionally, when incorporated into a CRISPR gene-editing system, they resulted in more efficient gene editing in mice. These new mRNAs, detailed in Nature Biotechnology, present potential for treating diseases requiring long-lasting treatments that edit genes or replace faulty proteins.

“The use of mRNA in Covid vaccines prompted us to explore broader therapeutic applications for mRNA,” said Xiao Wang, senior author of the study and core institute member at the Broad. “We’ve shown that non-natural structures can function much better than naturally occurring ones. In mouse experiments, just one dose of multi-tailed mRNA led to protein production lasting as long as 14 days – nearly double the lifetime demonstrated by previous mRNA technologies.”


The researchers expressed confidence in their ability to chemically and topologically modify mRNA molecules based on the promising results. The study highlights the potential for enhancing the efficiency and longevity of mRNA in various therapeutic applications beyond Covid-19 vaccines.

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