RNA is very distinct from DNA. RNA cannot affect or modify anybody’s DNA template.
First Identify the Target Protein
All mRNA medicines start with identifying a protein that is designed to prevent or treat a certain disease. In vaccine development, the mRNA is used to safely introduce the nucleic acid sequence of the nonnative protein once identified, into the cell to engage the cellular components that will replicate the sequenced protein. An inflammatory pathway is engaged which leads to the stimulation of the immune response to the target protein. This results in the production of both antibodies and T cells in response to the nonnative protein, the immunogen, for a broader and longer lasting protection against the targeted agent bearing disease.
Designing the mRNA
In the lab, the mRNA that carries the instruction for the target protein is designed and modified to allow it to be safely introduced into the cell while maintaining biological stability and attenuating unwanted inflammatory response. An outer shell made to surround the mRNA provides for maintenance of stability of the mRNA before it enters the cell, improves the delivery of the mRNA to the compartment of the cell where the protein it carries can be replicated and promotes appropriate immune response to the immunogen/nonnative protein.
Other Applications of mRNA in the Practice of Medicine
Scientists can make different proteins that can help the body fight infections or prevent diseases like cancer, metabolic diseases, etc. It is hoped that mRNA technology has introduced a modern approach to the treatment of various diseases that have so far eluded medical expertise.
Like all medicines and medical products, mRNA medicines and vaccines are being rigorously tested in clinical trials for safety and efficacy.
mRNA products can be created rapidly, which is one of the reasons why mRNA vaccines for the prevention of COVID–19 were created so quickly.
The speed, scale and flexibility of the mRNA platform is uniquely suited to dealing with current and emerging pathogens that threaten global health.
mRNA technology may significantly modify the practice of medicine. Potential treatment is developed faster for previously untreatable and emerging diseases.