The Marriage of RNA and Mass Spectrometry

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, The Real Message Behind Commercial mRNA Products, April 2023 eBook, Volume 2023 eBook, Issue 3
Pages: 36–39

Considerable efforts have been made over the years to resolve the key issues of stability and delivery of RNA-based therapeutics.

For several years after Crick (1) first described the genetic role of RNA, this molecular entity was perceived simply as an “inert” carrier between DNA and protein. Today, however, this view has almost entirely changed, and RNA-based molecules have been implicated in a broad range of functions including the activation/deactivation of genes, the excision of genetic material, and the transport of intercellular components. Indeed, it is expected that in the coming years, further discoveries will uncover even greater biochemical significance to this molecular type.

Given the ubiquity and variety of roles associated with RNA, it was inevitable that it would become a focus for investigators involved in the development of therapeutics. As early as 1978, Zamecnik (2) described the therapeutic use of an RNA-based oligonucleotide to inhibit replication of the Rous sarcoma virus, and, today, there are approximately 16 FDA-approved RNA therapies, 28 in clinical development, and many more expected in the near future (3).

Currently, RNA-based medicines can be segregated by their functionality and structure and include species, such as messenger RNA (mRNA), antisense oligonucleotides (ASO), small interfering RNA (siRNA), and microRNA (miRNA). Other types of RNA include aptamers which are single-stranded and form higher-order structures, and more recently described, circular RNA (circRNA or oRNA), which appears to have multiple functions prior to and following the transcription process (4). Additionally, mature clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats RNA (crRNA) and trans-activating CRISPR RNA (tracrRNA) constitute components of the recently developed CRISPR technology.


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About the author

Mark Rogers is global scientific director at SGS.

Article details

Pharmaceutical Technology
eBook: The Real Message Behind Commercial mRNA Products
April 2023
Pages: 36–39


When referring to this article, please cite it as Rogers, M. The Marriage of RNA and Mass Spectrometry. Pharmaceutical Technology's The Real Message Behind Commercial mRNA Products eBook (April 2023).