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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Researchers at MIT and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals report this week that they have successfully used RNA interference to turn off multiple genes in the livers of mice, an advance that could lead to new treatments for diseases of the liver and other organs.

Since the 1998 discovery of RNA interference – the naturally occurring phenomenon in which the flow of genetic information from a cell’s nucleus to the protein-building machinery of the cell is disrupted – scientists have been pursuing the tantalizing ability to shut off any gene in the body. Specifically, they have been trying to silence malfunctioning genes that cause diseases such as cancer.

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