Many researchers have had hopes for the breakthrough of genetic technology in the field of medicine. Messenger RNA or mRNA carry DNA instructions for protein synthesis in coding sequences to its ribosomes. By understanding the role of mRNA in the cells, scientists have now opened a wide range of applications and possibilities in medicine.
Applications of mRNA Technology
1. Vaccine Development
The use of mRNA technology in the manufacture of vaccines has become promising in the recent past. The use of the mRNA vaccine in cancer immune therapy has been encouraging. However, a study of the mrna history will help you appreciate the journey and the success of the mRNA technology. The mRNA vaccine in cancer immune therapy has facilitated stimulation of natural immunity and acquired immunity that targets cancer cells through T-cells giving hope in cancer immune therapy. mRNA cancer vaccine has high potency and is safer than traditional vaccines. The approval of mRNA based vaccines against SARS CoV-2 in 2020 by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, has given hope to biotech firms dealing with the research and innovation of mRNA related vaccines and treatments.
mRNA degenerates quickly before reaching its target cells due to the body defense systems. However, scientists have overcome the instability by modifying mRNA structure by inserting a nucleotide known as pseudouridine. The modified mRNA can now reach the target cells without activating the immune system.
2. Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine develops ways of replacing or repairing damaged body cells or tissues. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, hence can grow into different types of cells—embryonic stem cells forms at the early stages of human development.
The downside of regenerative medicine has been the use of embryo cells. However, scientists were able to reprogram mature human cells into induced pluripotent stem cells using mRNA transfection, which has now become a significant breakthrough in the field of regenerative medicine. The regenerative induced pluripotent stem cells can generate any cell.
Modified mRNA can reprogram adult cells to mimic embryonic stem cells. As a result, scientists enhance science in replacing or repairing damaged cells and tissues using mRNA IPSCs.
3. Use of Protein Replacement Therapies
Protein replacement therapy treats specific conditions, and it involves replacing a particular protein in the body that is lacking or deficient. The process consists in sending structured proteins to a specific targeted area to replace defective proteins. DNA based treatment involving heart regeneration has been ineffective due to the uncontrolled introduction of genes. However, modified mRNA does not need to enter the nucleus of a cell; hence, it does not introduce new genes; it’s safe, transient, and can overcome the challenges of DNA-based and viral-based approaches in protein replacement therapy. Researchers are developing mRNA based protein replacement therapies to help treat and regenerate muscles after myocardial infarction(MI).
The application of mRNA technology has given hope to medical solutions that may seem impossible or just theoretical. However, researchers have carried out extensive research on specific areas such as using mRNA technology in reversing diabetes, treating infectious diseases such as SARS-CoV-2, and mRNA cell programming. What seemed like a dream is now a reality. mRNA therapeutics has a lot of potentials in bio-pharmaceutical vaccine development. The FDA’s approval of mRNA vaccines against SARS-Cov-2 has given the industry more hope and confidence in taking the technology even further. The time has come for the scientists and the beneficiaries to embrace the technology entirely.