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Impact of the war in Ukraine on UEF

Two women working in a laboratory.

Postdoctoral Researcher Tiia Turunen, one of the founders of RNatives (on the left), together with Head of Manufacturing Pia Laitinen. Photo: RNatives.

Novel nuclear microRNA is being developed for the treatment of cardiovascular disease

A novel angiogenic microRNA drug can be a new option for the treatment of ischemic cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, along with their international collaborators, have published a study in PLOS ONE describing a novel nuclear acting microRNA. The researchers have patented the related innovations and are now further commercially developing them within a new start-up company.

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules, which regulate gene expression. Their canonical role is gene silencing by targeting messenger RNAs in cell cytoplasm. However, this novel microRNA, miR-466c, has a different mechanism of action. It upregulates the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) by targeting the gene promoter in the cell nucleus.

In addition to expanding the academic understanding of microRNA biology, these findings have commercial impact for the development of novel RNA drugs. Increasing the expression of VEGFA by using small RNAs offers novel options for the treatment of ischemic cardiovascular disease, where the blood supply in the tissue is compromised.

    RNA activation as a phenomenon has been known for 16 years already, but its commercial potential has been recognised only recently.

    Mikko Turunen

    RNatives Chairman, Adjunct Professor

    Mikko Turunen.