Kunihiko Morihiro

Graduate School of Engineering, The University of TokyoResearch Associate*Profile is at the time of the award.

2019Inamori Research GrantsBiology & Life sciences

Research topics
Development of Fe(II)-responsive RNAi therapeutics
Drugs that demonstrate their efficacy selectively by distinguishing cancerous cells from normal cells have few side effects and consequently help achieve treatment with a high degree of safety. If nucleic acid medicines, which attract much attention these days, could be designed to selectively function on cancerous cells, we could bring about a major breakthrough in the development of such medicine.
The purpose of this proposed research is to develop RNAi drugs that are activated by Fe(II) ions to achieve cancer-cell-selective inhibition of gene expressions. It has been known that in cancerous cells, the mechanism for uptake and discharge of Fe(II) ions is disrupted, causing a significant increase in their intracellular concentrations. Thus, Fe(II) ions may be used as a “marker” for distinguishing cancerous cells from normal cells.

Message from recipient

I feel greatly honored to have been selected for the time-honored Inamori Research Grants Program. I wish to contribute to the health of humankind by adding new functions to nucleic acid medicines from the viewpoint of a chemist.

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Biology & Life sciences