Science/Tech

The New Approach to Messenger RNA

Moderna Therapeutics, a relatively new company founded in 2011, is researching how to modify mRNA molecules to produce whatever protein is needed by the body.

So what is mRNA? Messenger RNA’s purpose is to copy a complementary strand of RNA from the original DNA sequence in a cell. The mRNA, containing a sort of recipe for making proteins, travels to the ribosome, another organelle in the cell, where amino acids that match with the rRNA (that’s what mRNA is called when it is at the ribosome) are transferred. These amino acids are bonded together and form proteins that make up tissues and organs. The mRNA basically has the power to make or break the production of proteins. If the mRNA sequence is different from what it should be, amino acids could be created to produce the wrong protein, and consequently, organs and tissues that contain those proteins do not perform their jobs properly.

RNAvsDNA

RNA and DNA strands

Moderna Therapeutics is attempting to modify mRNA to encode for any protein. The thinking is this: if the initial mRNA is not doing its job correctly to encode for the right proteins, then a new and improved version of mRNA has to be inserted to direct the creation of necessary proteins for organs and tissues in the body. With modified mRNA, regenerative medicine, combination therapy, even vaccines can be developed as a series of new drug modalities. If Moderna is succesful in its game-changing plans for messenger RNA, people with serious conditions can be treated effectively and safely.

Medical researchers working hard

Medical research

Moderna Therapeutics without a doubt has a team of gifted scientists, but it also has the money. Different investors have put in over a billion dollars in funding to make the mRNA dream possible. In fact, their deal with AstraZeneca alone is worth up to $420 million. Having surpassed expectations and defied limits within less than a decade of the foundation of Moderna, it has set an example for other biotechnology companies. Obviously, this is not the last we will be hearing from the company or from the new approach to messenger RNA.

For more information on Moderna Therapeutics, click here.

 

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Mona Amirseyedian

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