RNAi gene silencing comes back to life

After a rocky start, RNA interference (RNAi), a gene-silencing technique that won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, is gaining momentum.

In November, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced its first major success: evidence that an RNAi-based treatment drastically reduced levels of a toxic liver protein in people with a rare neuro­degenerative disease. That opened up the floodgates: biotechnology firms have already raised nearly US$1 billion this year for RNAi-based drug development, and roughly 150 therapies are being tested in patients. “It’s no longer a question of if RNA therapeutics will become a reality” but when, says John Maraganore, Alnylam’s chief executive.

Read the full, original story: RNA interference rebooted

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