This week in therapeutics




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Breast cancer

Homeobox A1 (HOXA1)

In vitro and mouse studies suggest depleting HOXA1 could prevent progression of early breast cancer lesions. Computational evaluation and comparison of networks of gene expression changes in tumorigenic and wild-type mouse mammary glands identified Hoxa1 as a possible modulator of early tumor progression. In 3D cell culture, siRNA knockdown of Hoxa1 caused mammary epithelial tumor cells to adopt wild-type tissue architectures. In a mouse model of human breast cancer, intraductal delivery of lipid nanoparticle-formulated siRNA targeting Hoxa1 decreased cell proliferation and tumor incidence compared with nonspecific siRNA. Next steps include profiling Hoxa1 mutations in human breast cancer and building related computational models based on human clinical samples.

SciBX 7(4); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.113
Published online Jan. 30, 2014

Gene regulatory network algorithm and lipid nanoparticle formulation patented; licensing status undisclosed

Brock, A. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online Jan. 1, 2014;
Contact: Donald E. Ingber, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.