RNA is something that most people learned about in grade school and quickly forgot about. Some hyper-attentive students may remember that it stands for ribonucleic acid, but beyond that, it’s just another one of those essential-for-all-life trivialities that escapes the notice of your average mall-goer.
But one Madison company is hoping that some cancer sufferers will soon have good reason to put RNA back on their radar.
The company, Quintessence Biosciences, is currently conducting Phase I clinical trials of a drug called QBI-139, which takes an unusual approach to killing cancer cells. Instead of targeting DNA, as traditional chemotherapy does, or proteins, as some newer targeted therapies do, QBI-139 is designed to degrade RNA, inhibiting protein synthesis in cancer cells and killing those cells.