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Formation and Characteristics of tRNA, rRNA and mRNA
#9
Discovery of RNA and its effect on gene therapy and related treatments


The development of molecular biology is truly unique and full of twist and turns that normally can be associated with a novel. It started with the discovery of the double helix of DNA way back in 1953. Since then over thousands and thousands of biological molecules have been identified by various biologists at different times that play key roles in the body of a cell. These identifications of structural elements have helped the biologists to develop different drugs for effective treatments against deadly diseases.
Previously DNA and proteins play key role in the development of drugs as DNA provides the genetic information and proteins being the products of the genes. The discovery of proteins paved the way towards immense advancement in medical sciences with the invention of insulin, the next generation drugs against cancer, interferon and so on. Similarly, the gene therapy involving modified DNA can be used successfully in the treatment of hereditary blindness, hempphilia and many such previously diseases that has no previous treatments.

The RNA in treatments of diseases


Recently the focus has been shifted towards the RNA molecules. Micro RNA has been found to cure Hepatitis C by blocking the related strains causing the disease. Hepatitis C is not a very old disease. It has been noted just 25 years ago. Hepatitis C is responsible for majority of cases of liver cancer and liver transplantation. It kills more people than AIDS do and the death toll is US alone is more than 350000 people per year.
Though the infection is curable with standard treatment protocol using ribavirin and interferon for 50-70% cases, but it is time consuming (takes about 11 months) and associated with severe side effects that include fatigue, anemia, headache, depression and fever. A modified protease has been recently used for treatment, similar to something used to treat AIDS patients. This new technique has given better result and significantly lowered the treatment time. But, the problem is that this new drugs only works against hepatitis C infections from Japan, North America and Europe. So for the rest of the world, something else has to be designed.

RNA drugs against Ebola


The people infected with Ebola virus usually have the initial symptoms identical to that of flue i.e. chills, high fever and muscle pains. But, soon bleeding starts and the virus continue to multiply within the body by destroying the cells. Eventually it starts damaging the organs of the body like liver, spleen, lungs and the blood vessels. It takes only a few days to reach organ failure leading the patients into coma. More than 90% of the infected patients in Central and West Africa have been killed.
This scenario may be changed by the introduction of a small interfering RNA molecule or siRNA. Serious research is going on and a highly promising treatment procedure has been identified using siRNA that worked well in 6 Ebola infected monkeys. The treatment also went well against the uninfected human volunteer, the first safety step in drug testing.
  




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