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Cancer Discov. 2013 Apr;3(4):406-17. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0429. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

First-in-humans trial of an RNA interference therapeutic targeting VEGF and KSP in cancer patients with liver involvement.

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Medical Oncology Department, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


RNA interference (RNAi) is a potent and specific mechanism for regulating gene expression. Harnessing RNAi to silence genes involved in disease holds promise for the development of a new class of therapeutics. Delivery is key to realizing the potential of RNAi, and lipid nanoparticles (LNP) have proved effective in delivery of siRNAs to the liver and to tumors in animals. To examine the activity and safety of LNP-formulated siRNAs in humans, we initiated a trial of ALN-VSP, an LNP formulation of siRNAs targeting VEGF and kinesin spindle protein (KSP), in patients with cancer. Here, we show detection of drug in tumor biopsies, siRNA-mediated mRNA cleavage in the liver, pharmacodynamics suggestive of target downregulation, and antitumor activity, including complete regression of liver metastases in endometrial cancer. In addition, we show that biweekly intravenous administration of ALN-VSP was safe and well tolerated. These data provide proof-of-concept for RNAi therapeutics in humans and form the basis for further development in cancer.


The fi ndings in this report show safety, pharmacokinetics, RNAi mechanism of action, and clinical activity with a novel fi rst-in-class LNP-formulated RNAi therapeutic in patients with cancer. The ability to harness RNAi to facilitate specifi c multitargeting, as well as increase the number of druggable targets, has important implications for future drug development in oncology.

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