Functional assays for specific targeting and delivery of RNA nanoparticles to brain tumor

Tae Jin Lee, Farzin Haque, Mario Vieweger, Ji Young Yoo, Balveen Kaur, Peixuan Guo, Carlo M. Croce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cumulative progress in nanoparticle development has opened a new era of targeted delivery of therapeutics to cancer cells and tissue. However, developing proper detection methods has lagged behind resulting in the lack of precise evaluation and monitoring of the systemically administered nanoparticles. RNA nanoparticles derived from the bacteriophage phi29 DNA packaging motor pRNA have emerged as a new generation of drugs for cancer therapy. Multifunctional RNA nanoparticles can be fabricated by bottom- up self-assembly of engineered RNA fragments harboring targeting (RNA aptamer or chemical ligand), therapeutic (siRNA, miRNA, ribozymes, and small molecule drugs), and imaging (fluorophore, radiolabels) modules. We have recently demonstrated that RNA nanoparticles can reach and target intracranial brain tumors in mice upon systemic injection with little or no accumulation in adjacent healthy brain tissues or in major healthy internal organs. Herein, we describe various functional imaging methods (fluorescence confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, fluorescence whole body imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging) to evaluate and monitor RNA nanoparticle targeting to intracranial brain tumors in mice. Such imaging techniques will allow indepth evaluation of specifically delivered RNA therapeutics to brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioluminescence imaging
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Glioma
  • MRI
  • RNA nanoparticle
  • Xenograft
  • pRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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