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NanoRNP Overcomes Tumor Heterogeneity in Cancer Treatment

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journal contribution
posted on 11.10.2019, 16:04 by Qi Liu, Jinquan Cai, Yadan Zheng, Yanli Tan, Yunfei Wang, Zhanzhan Zhang, Chunxiong Zheng, Yu Zhao, Chaoyong Liu, Yingli An, Chuanlu Jiang, Linqi Shi, Chunsheng Kang, Yang Liu
Tumor heterogeneity has been one of the most important factors leading to the failure of conventional cancer therapies due to the accumulation of genetically distinct tumor-cell subpopulations during the tumor development process. Due to the diversity of genetic mutations during tumor growth, combining the use of multiple drugs has only achieved limited success in combating heterogeneous tumors. Herein, we report a novel antitumor strategy that effectively addresses tumor heterogeneity by using a CRISPR/Cas9-based nanoRNP carrying a combination of sgRNAs. Such nanoRNP is synthesized from Cas9 ribonucleoprotein, any combinations of required sgRNAs, and a rationally designed responsive polymer that endows nanoRNP with high circulating stability, enhanced tumor accumulation, and the efficient gene editing in targeted tumor cells eventually. By carrying a combination of sgRNAs that targets STAT3 and RUNX1, the nanoRNP exhibited efficient gene expression disruptions on a heterogeneous tumor model with two subsets of cells whose proliferations were sensitive to the reduced expression of STAT3 and RUNX1, respectively, leading to the effective growth inhibition of the heterogeneous tumor. Considering the close relationship between tumor heterogeneity and cancer progression, resistance to therapy, and recurrences, nanoRNP provides a feasible strategy to overcome tumor heterogeneity in the development of more advanced cancer therapy against malignant tumors.