RNAs and Cancer Immunotherapy

RNA molecules, including siRNA, microRNA, and mRNA, enable immunomodulation and cancer immunotherapy. Both the innate and the adaptive immune system may respond to challenges from these molucles by silencing or upregulating immune-relevant genes.

Specifically designed nanomaterials enhance the delivery of RNA molecules to tumors and immune cells. RNA conjugates allowing the delivery to specific cellular targets, are crucial for the development of molecular diagnostic tests and targeted therapeutics.

RNA therapeutics are appealing for the treatment and prevention of a disease, such as cancer, a genetic disorder, diabetes, inflammation, or neurodegenerative diseases. However, RNA molecules by themselves are quite labile and are difficult to deliver through the various physiological barriers in the human body. For example, a human’s intrinsic defense system includes various exonucleases and RNases responsible for the degradation of RNA, organs, or tissues, as well as the innate immunes system for RNA clearance, making the delivery of RNA molecules challenging. Delivered RNAs may function by silencing of immune checkpoint genes, activating the innate or adaptive immune system by regulating cytokines expressions and acting as tumor antigen vaccines.

New RNA based approaches promise the development of nanoparticle-based platforms. These include liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles (NPs), and inorganic NPs. The hope is that these platforms will allow efficient delivery of RNAs to specific targets in cells or tissues.

Biosynthesis Inc. offers automated custom synthesis for un-modified and modified short, median length, and long DNA and RNA oligos.


Lin YX, Wang Y, Blake S, Yu M, Mei L, Wang H, Shi J. RNA Nanotechnology-Mediated Cancer Immunotherapy. Theranostics 2020; 10(1):281-299. doi:10.7150/thno.35568. Available from