Carnegie Mellon University scientists have developed a new way to introduce peptide nucleic acid (PNA) directly into live mammalian cells, including human embryonic stem (ES) cells. The work, published online December 2 in Chemical Communications, holds considerable promise in genetic engineering, diagnostics and therapeutics.

Until now, getting PNAs into living cells has been difficult. While other laboratories have developed ways to shuttle PNAs into cells, these methods remain largely ineffective and limited to small-scale experimental setups. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is the current preferred target of antisense therapy.

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