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Single bioengineered ncRNA molecule for dual-targeting toward the control of non-small cell lung cancer patient-derived xenograft tumor growth

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Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and accounts for more than 22% of all cancer-related deaths in the US. Developing new therapies is essential to combat against deadly lung cancer, especially the most common type, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). With the discovery of genome-derived functional small noncoding RNA (ncRNA), namely microRNAs (miRNA or miR), restoration of oncolytic miRNAs lost or downregulated in NSCLC cells represents a new therapeutic strategy. Very recently, we have developed a novel technology that achieves in vivo fermentation production of bioengineered miRNA agents (BERA) for research and development. In this study, we aimed at simultaneously introducing two miRNAs into NSCLC cells by using single recombinant "combinatorial BERA" (CO-BERA) molecule. Our studies show that single CO-BERA molecule (e.g., let-7c/miR-124) was successfully processed to two miRNAs (e.g., let-7c-5p and miR-124-3p) to combinatorially regulate the expression of multiple targets (e.g., RAS, VAMP3 and CDK6) in human NSCLC cells, exhibiting greater efficacy than respective BERA miRNAs in the inhibition of cell viability and colony formation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CO-BERA let-7c/miR-124-loaded lipopolyplex nanomedicine was the most effective among tested RNAs in the control of tumor growth in NSCLC patient-derived xenograft mouse models. The anti-tumor activity of CO-BERA let-7c/miR-124 was associated with the suppression of RAS and CDK6 expression, and enhancement of apoptosis. These results support the concept to use single ncRNA agent for dual-targeting and offer insight into developing new RNA therapeutics for the treatment of lethal NSCLC.

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