RNA Therapeutics:

As we are housed inside the Houston Methodist Research Institute, the Kiss RNA Lab is committed to the translation of basic science discoveries to benefit human health. Shortly after the lab opened, we joined the Houston Methodist Research Insitutes’s RNA Therapeutics program and began working on our first therapeutic candidate, a circular RNA designed to counter genes driving oncogenic transformation and cell migration in an in vitro model of breast cancer.  That work has earned Dr. Kiss a Career Development Award titled “Construction of circular RNAs to block miRNA-driven oncogenic transformation” from The American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy.

Our lab has also been developing methods to increase the potency of RNA therapeutics.  These include the design of both novel RNA constructs and novel RNA sequence elements that increase the functional lifespan and/or the translation potential of the RNA therapeutic within cells.

COVID-19 updates:

We are applying our expertise and experience with designing, developing, and evaluating novel RNA therapeutics to the address the urgent needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our lab is providing all needed support as HMRI’s RNA Core develops an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. Houston Methodist Vaccine Research Press Release>>

The lab has also been developing novel RNA vaccine candidates for COVID-19. We are still in the development stages and will test the first vaccine candidate in animals in early 2021.

In addition to providing support for the vaccine effort mentioned above, we are developing RNA therapeutic candidates designed to treat active COVID-19 disease. These candidates are designed to slow the course of the infection by interfering with the virus’s replication machinery. Importantly, if successful, the approach could be applicable (with virus-specific alterations) to different coronaviruses. This work is in its early stages.

Current Support:

Career Development Award from The American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (PI: Kiss, DL)

The Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas (RP150611, PI: Cooke, JP)

Houston Methodist Research Institute COVID-19 grant (PI: Kiss, DL)

Houston Methodist Research Institute Career Cornerstone Award – 2020 (PI: Kiss, DL)

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