University of Texas at Dallas researchers believe they have uncovered secrets about microRNA, which can be used to build genetic circuits. These genetic circuits can help pharmaceutical companies more effectively design medicines, even customized medicines for individuals that might one day be printed at the hospital or the doctors office. They can also be used for gene therapy.
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From Science Daily
|Bioengineering team’s ‘circuit’ work may benefit gene therapy|
Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have designed genetic “circuits” out of living cellular material in order to gain a better understanding of how proteins function, with the goal of making improvements.
Tyler Quarton, a bioengineering graduate student, and Dr. Leonidas Bleris, associate professor of bioengineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, said they hope their work, published in Systems Biology and Applications, has a big impact on synthetic biology and gene therapy…..
Quarton said he hopes their research influences future designs of genetic circuits that will be used in personalized medicine and gene therapy. Gene therapy involves transplanting normally functioning genes into cells to replace missing or damaged material in order to correct genetic disorders.
Quarton’s background is in physics. He used mathematics and statistics to create simple models that other scientists could use as they develop their own systems.
“These models can help other researchers trying to understand or use microRNAs,” he said. “By using principles of math and physics in synthetic biology, we uncovered specific properties of microRNA that can be used in future applications for targeted and smart therapeutics.”
He also said that this research could shed light on natural genetic redundancies and other diseases where microRNA are not at physiological levels.
“Synthetic biology is important for gene therapy applications, and our methodology may assist in building more robust and reliable therapeutics in the future,” Bleris said.