Melissa J. Moore of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and S. Ananth Karumanchi of Harvard Medical School in the U.S. propose to develop siRNA- based therapies to silence genes in the placenta which produce excess proteins that cause preeclampsia. Temporarily silencing these genes can prolong pregnancy and protect the life of both infant and mother. In Phase I, they demonstrated that siRNAs can be delivered to the placenta, and those designed to target the mouse versions of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt1) could safely decrease protein levels in pregnant mice. In Phase II, Moore, Karumanchi and colleague Anastasia Khvorova will test the safety and efficacy of modified siRNAs for treating preeclampsia in a non-human primate model.
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