Regulus Therapeutics, UC San Diego collaborate on microRNA- targeted therapies
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. & SAN DIEGO-- Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on being a leader in discovering and developing new medicines that target microRNAs, announced the formation of a new collaboration with researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. The collaboration will focus on finding novel treatments for angiogenic diseases through the use of microRNA therapeutics and will combine Regulus' microRNA platform and UCSD's expertise in animal models of angiogenesis, and resulting anti-angiogenic microRNA-targeted therapies could easily be translated for treating human diseases.  
Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels and is a leading contributor to the severity of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, inflammatory disease, macular degeneration and arthritis. In cancer particularly, angiogenesis is what allows tumors to gain new sources of the blood, oxygen and nutrients required for growth. microRNAs have been shown to have potential in regulating various biological networks that are involved in angiogenesis.  
"We are pleased to collaborate with leading scientific institutes like UCSD and to provide industry support for programs such as the UC Discovery Grant," says Dr. Hubert C. Chen, vice president of translational medicine at Regulus. "Regulus continues to demonstrate a leadership position in the field of microRNA therapeutics and is committed to forging partnerships with leading academic and clinical laboratories to advance microRNA biology and therapeutic discovery."  
Both institutions have a solid repertoire of experience when it comes to microRNA. Researchers at UC have studied microRNA-132, and Regulus boasts a network of close to "30 academic collaborations," which Chen says "assists us with the investigation of new microRNAs and supports microRNA discovery efforts."  
"Our research published last year in Nature Medicine demonstrated that microRNA-132 functions as a novel angiogenic switch that turns on angiogenesis in quiescent endothelial cells, and that targeting with an anti-miR-132 decreases blood vessel formation," says Dr. David A. Cheresh, a professor of pathology in the UCSD School of Medicine, associate director for translational research at UCSD Moores Cancer Center and principal investigator on the grant. "The objective of our collaborative work with Regulus is to advance these initial discoveries and discover additional microRNAs involved in angiogenic diseases."  
The collaboration program recently received a UC Discovery Grant, which promotes collaborations between researchers at the university and industry partners "in the interest of supporting cutting-edge research, strengthening the state's economy, and serving the public good," as stated on UC's website. UC Discovery Grant projects are funded jointly, by the grant and an industry sponsor's matching contribution. Financial terms for the project's grant were not disclosed.
Code: E04141101

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