mRNA stands for messenger RNA, a type of RNA that serves as an intermediary between the DNA in our genes and their corresponding proteins. That means that MRNA can have enormous medical applications since the DNA in our genes can control everything from cell structure to organ function to overall health. Here are five notable roles MRNA technology plays in medical applications today.
Drug and Vaccine Discovery and Development
The application of the cell-free mRNA technique for studying a molecule’s efficacy and safety is unique, whether alone or within the body. The technology would involve purifying RNA from diseased cells to examine its content, such as protein or mRNA levels, to determine where it may have a problem and subsequently find new ways to decrease or mimic its function. As vaccines continue to change their target base from one year to the next, researchers have found that this can cause the effects of the vaccine on the human immune system over time.
So, with more information about what it does and how to target mutations better, mRNA technology can help improve development times by being able to create vaccines more quickly. The mrna vaccine history holds some interesting data points which show the progression of the relationship between mRNA and medical research. The technology further brings the possibility of individualized therapeutics that could lead to personalized medicines.
Identifying Disease and Disorder
The use of mRNA has made advances in medical research and the technology behind these advances. By identifying mutated genes and disorders that would be difficult to detect otherwise, doctors can provide accurate diagnoses and create specific treatment plans for their patients. In addition, mRNA can identify which patients will have adverse reactions to certain drugs or if they are at risk for other health problems such as heart disease or cancer.
The other significant benefit of using this type of genetic testing is being able to screen fetuses during pregnancy so parents can know if there is a risk for a specific disease before birth. Hence, with mRNA technology in medicine, doctors are better equipped to treat their patients by understanding their risks and potential complications.
One of the most exciting and recent breakthroughs has been CRISPR-Cas9, a new genome editing technology that is opening up many more possibilities. Recent studies have shown that this technique can help to improve fertility treatments, eliminate HIV, and regenerate cells. The science behind it is pretty straightforward.
Researchers can remove a section of DNA causing a problem by using an enzyme called Cas9 that cuts out the desired sequence. Then they replace the faulty piece with another piece of DNA, also known as a donor template. What makes CRISPR-Cas9 so great is that there are not many restrictions on what this replacement segment can be. Scientists could use any piece from any species, including human beings!
Using mRNA technology, scientists can modify human cells. Genetic modification has always been a vital part of the medical field and research. Still, more and more scientists are switching to this method to produce bioengineered human tissues from cells. One primary goal of tissue engineering is to create new organs for people who need them by taking cells from their bodies.
Scientists then take these living cells and edit their DNA using mRNA technology so that they become specialized in making an organ or other body parts. So far, these transplants have been successful on pigs with no long-term side effects detected.
mRNA is an emerging technology for fighting diseases. Unlike antibodies, mainly used for killing, RNA interference offers powerful ways to target cells directly, causing them to die if they’ve undergone modification with a sequence from a virus or fungus.
Scientists can also alter the expression of genes, turning off a troublesome protein that could cause cancer. These treatments may be less toxic than traditional chemotherapy drugs because they don’t affect healthy cells as much as conventional chemotherapy drugs.
With these critical medical roles, it’s not hard to see how vital this new mRNA technology is to the future of health care. With gene editing and personalized medicine on the horizon, much work is still in the pipeline. Still, it is exhilarating to know what technology holds in improving the lives of countless people for years to come.