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P-selectin targeting polysaccharide-based nano-gels for miRNA delivery

In recent years, non-coding microRNAs have been evaluated as they may offer great therapeutic potential to treat cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and genetic conditions. Non-coding miRNAs regulate gene expression but are sensitive to degradation and rely on suitable vehicles to target cells efficiently.

Nanogels are polymeric materials that can be used for the delivery of these microRNAs since they allow a high loading capacity, protecting the molecules against degradation. They can be natural or synthetic and contain more than one type of polymer.

Pullulan is a water-soluble homopolysaccharide produced by the fungus Aureobasidium pullulan. It’s a promising material for biomedical applications such as drug/gene delivery and tissue engineering. Cationic pullulan derivatives can form complexes with plasmid DNA and siRNA in cationized pullulan-based hydrogels and be used for in vitro miRNA delivery.

So, researchers at the Université de Paris (France), and Universidade do Mino (Portugal), proposed a simple drug delivery system with polysaccharides pullulan and fucoidan, which instantly and spontaneously self-assemble to form nanosized hydrogels.