UNAIR NEWS – The more advance technology in medical field, the more complex side effects caused by various treatments. It is contradictory with people expectation, to be healed without any prolonged side effects.
To meet the expectation, medical technological innovations are being developed. One of the development in many countries is gene therapy or Micro RNA (MiRNA) method.
Even though the method is quite new in Indonesia, some students of Faculty of Medicine (FK) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) are inspired to develop it. They initiated treatment innovation through genetic therapy and applied it to some cases in Indonesia. Their idea was presented in a scientific poster. Recently they have got trophies and some of them were at national level.
Such as what has been achieved by Maria Arni Stella and Rizqy Rahmatyah. They succeeded in Scientific Poster Competition at Hipotalamus Competition 2016. This annual scientific competition was held by Faculty of Medicine (FK) Universitas Jember.
This duo initiated on alternative treatment with genetic method of MiRNA 34a for lung cancer patients in the form of inhalation therapy through nanobubble chitosan.
All mthis time, lung cancer therapy method is through chemotherapy. In the process, the chemicals are inserted through blood veins. There is also radiology therapy. Certain ray is beamed through certain point to destroy cancer cells. But unfortunately, those two therapies are potential to cause systemic side effects such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss to normal cells destruction. This condition makes patients uncomfortable. Therefore, the patients choose to stop treatment and therapy.
Ease the patients’ burden
To minimize therapy side effects, Maria and Rizqy modified genetic therapy method by combining microRNA 34a with nanobubble chitosan. Chitosan is a polysaccharide which can be modified into nanobubble form. In this regard, nanobubble chitosan is modified to treat specifically to lung cancer cells.
Maria explained that this genetic therapy used MiRNA 34a inserted into nano sized bubbles. Then, the nano sized bubbles then are directed to the body through inhalation of directly breathe in by the patients. Hopefully, after routine therapy this way, cancer cells can be suppressed only in the damaged area so they do not spread to other parts of body.
“As the treatment is biomolecular, the target is specific, with less side effects. There are many kinds of MiRNA and they are being developed for many diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, viral disease, autoimmune disease and other kinds,” Maria elaborated.
In its character, Micro RNA method specifically targets different cells’ destruction and suppress cancer cells’ growth. In formulating the ideas, they looked into related references and researches conducted at international level.
In Indonesia, genetic therapy method is not applied much while abroad, researches and clinical tests are developed greatly. Maria wanted to study this subject further. (*)
Editor: Rio F. Rachman