RNAi Consortium to accelerate genetic research

March 16, 2005

Tags: Sabatini LabRNA

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (March 16, 2005) — Whitehead Institute has joined ten other leading biomedical organizations in an $18 million, three-year public-private consortium that will create a comprehensive library of gene inhibitors to be made available to the entire scientific community.  Based on the method of RNA interference (RNAi), this library will give scientists worldwide the tools to knock down expression of virtually all human and mouse genes, accelerating the growth of basic knowledge of gene function in normal physiology and disease.
The RNAi Consortium (TRC) is based on a scientific collaboration among principal investigators at six Boston-area research institutions: Nir Hacohen (Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, formerly at Whitehead); William Hahn (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, formerly at Whitehead); Eric Lander (Broad Institute); David Root (Broad Institute, formerly at Whitehead); David Sabatini (Whitehead Institute); Sheila Stewart (Washington University, formerly at Whitehead), and Brent Stockwell (Columbia University, formerly at Whitehead).
TRC also involves five member organizations: Pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, and Novartis; research product manufacturer Sigma-Aldrich; and a Taiwan government-sponsored academic consortium.
“This consortium is an example of how scientists can come together across multiple institutions to create a large-scale resource,” says David Sabatini, Associate Member at Whitehead. The tools it generates “will allow scientists to explore mammalian biology for the next five to ten years in ways that weren’t possible before.” 
RNAi provides a means of dissecting complex biological processes by switching off genes one at a time. The method is expected to revolutionize drug development and discovery by providing critical insights into the mechanism underlying human disease and accelerating development of medical treatments for cancer, metabolic, inflammatory, infectious, neurological and other types of diseases.

Written by David Cameron.


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