Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Nucleic Acid Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases

Technology #6332

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David M. Markovitz
Managed By
Stefan Koehler
Senior Licensing Specialist, Health Technologies 734-764-4290
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Described here is the use of synthetic nucleic acids for the inhibition of a protein which plays a major role in inflammation. RNA or DNA pieces designed to be used as pharmaco probes or therapeutics are called aptamers. Although still a relatively novel concept for drug discovery aptamers have already led to clinically available drugs. The aptamers described here have potential use as therapeutics for arthritis, ocular inflammation, and many other inflammatory diseases.

Using synthetic nucleic acids as potential drugs for inflammation

The gold standard in drug discovery is identifying a molecular target and throwing libraries of hundreds of thousands of small molecules at is to identify one which binds to and inhibits the protein of interest. Another approach is using the inherent properties of nucleic acid molecules RNA or DNA to find binding sites allowing for inhibition of many proteins which had previously been tagged as “undruggable”. Researchers at The University of Michigan have developed several aptamers which binds to and inhibits a protein which they have shown plays a major role in inflammation. Their research suggests that these aptamers could be used as therapeutics for diseases such as arthritis, ocular inflammation, and potentially many other inflammatory diseases including autoimmune disorders.


  • Arthritis therapy
  • Ocular Inflammation


  • Novel target for inflammation
  • Aptamers are easy and economical to produce
  • Aptamers are capable of extreme specificity and affinity