Mehmet Yigit


  • Mehmet Yigit

    CHEMISTRY

    Resistance to anti-cancer therapeutic agents is one of the major obstacles to cancer treatment. Thus, significant effort in the development of anti-cancer agents must be coupled with strategies to overcome drug resistance. Dr. Yigit’s laboratory proposes a strategy to overcome drug resistance by targeting endogenous RNAi machinery – in particular miRNA-21 (miR-21), which is an important tumor biomarker. Abnormal miR-21 expression is linked to the drug-resistant phenotype of several cancers, including breast, lung, prostate, colon cancers and gliomas. Controlling the expression of miR-21 with synthetically engineered nucleic acids alters the drug-resistant phenotype of cancer to a non-resistant one. Therefore, combining the miR-21 therapy with chemotherapy represents a novel platform for increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatment. We propose to use ultra-small magnetic nanoparticles to implement combined image-guided nano- and chemo-therapy on doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer. Magnetic nanoparticles provide non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging of the therapeutic outcome while shuttling the synthetic therapeutic oligonucleotides to malignant tissues. Such a ‘nanotechnology platform’ is a highly effective tool to monitor the fate of the drug components in the body and to identify the precise periods of drug administration. We believe that utilizing miRNA nano- and chemo-therapy could ultimately (i) overcome the drug resistance of many cancer types and (ii) increase the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs while decreasing the dose administered.