Xaviar Michael Jones, MD, on Expanding Horizons in RNA Therapeutics Through Collaboration

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The postdoctoral research fellow at Cedars Sinai Medical Center discussed the future of RNA therapy in the context of research in systemic sclerosis he presented at AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2023.

This is the second part of an interview with Xaviar Michael Jones, MD. For the first part, click here.

“I think this arena is still in [its] early stages. Nevertheless, this is extremely motivating, and I urge people to collaborate—especially from the rheumatology field [and] from the cardiology field—and work together and put our heads together and see how we can all contribute to develop a compound that can help patients ultimately.”

Xaviar Michael Jones, MD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and his colleagues are currently conducting preclinical research on the potential of utilizing the noncoding RNA therapeutic TY1 as a treatment method for systemic sclerosis. Jones presented relevant data from both an inflammatory-dependent bleomycin mouse model and a genetic TSK1 mouse model at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2023, held November 10-13 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among the results reported from the bleomycin mice who received TY1 were decreases in collagen content, dermal thickness, lung congestion, and lung fibrosis, along with improvements in the stiffening of the heart and better performance on exercise tests. Normalization of skin and cardiac fibrosis was also observed in the TSK1 mice that received the treatment. Notably, the RNA therapeutic was delivered to the mice in this research via oral gavage, as opposed to the intravenous methods of delivering RNA therapeutics that are used in FDA-approved RNA-based treatments.

In a discussion with CGTLive™ at the conference, Jones discussed the big-picture implications of these findings, the challenges of the research, and future areas of interest for this work, as well as the future of RNA therapeutic research in general. He emphasized the importance of conducting rigorous research and following the data, especially when it comes to safety, dosing, and timing of treatment, as this emerging therapeutic modality evolves further. Jones also called for more collaboration among investigators and research institutions in this field and noted that he wants to look further into the cardiac findings from the mouse model research with TY1 in order to get a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the changes he and his team observed.

REFERENCE
1. Jones XM, Ciullo A, Mesquita T, et al. Noncoding RNA drug, TY1, attenuates cardiac fibrosis in two mouse models of systemic sclerosis. Presented at: AHA Scientific Sessions 2023; November 10-13; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mo1068
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