Wes Validates the Potential of RNA-based Metabolic Therapies At MiNA Therapeutics

"I can run immunoassays on Wes for an entire animal experiment in a single day. This is something I wouldn’t even try with traditional Western blots."

- Jon Voutila, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, MiNA Therapeutics, London, UK

Jon Voutila, Ph.D.

Advancing the treatment of liver cancer and fibrotic liver diseases


MiNA Therapeutics, a London based biotech company is developing a distinct class of small oligonucleotides aimed at recovering the expression of good proteins that are found either downregulated or repressed in metabolic disease. These small oligonucleotides are suitably called small activating RNAs (saRNA) and work by targeting gene promoter elements. “We develop small RNAs that activate gene expression to restore normal function in disease,” reiterates Jon Voutila, Ph.D., a Senior Research Scientist working within R&D at MiNA. “In many chronic diseases, damage over time leads to dysregulation of normal gene expression. We target transcription factors and other regulatory proteins downregulated in disease to change cellular phenotype and restore normal function,” he explains. MiNa Therapeutics already has one such saRNA therapy undergoing clinical trials in patients with advanced liver cancer, in addition to others in their preclinical and discovery pipeline.

Traditional Westerns? No time for that


Dr. Voutila’s day-to-day is busy with optimizing therapeutic dosages and running preclinical disease models. When faced with needing to validate protein expression in response to the saRNA therapies he’s working on, Dr. Voutila knew that conventional Western blotting wasn’t going to cut it! To that end, getting quantitative protein expression data from large animal experiments via traditional approaches is challenging for translational researchers across the board. Being extremely limited by sample size, on top of the unreliable, tedious and manual workflow is especially risky for in vivo sample types. “Traditional Western blotting takes way too much time. With little time to spare in the lab, protein work was not prioritized since it would also need considerable troubleshooting,” he acknowledges. With Simple Western™ assays on Wes™, though, Dr. Voutila was up and running immunoassays for an entire animal experiment in a single day!

All in a day’s work: quantitative protein expression with Wes

Simple Westerns eliminate all of the repetitive processing typical with traditional Western blotting approaches. Instead, all steps, including gel and stacking matrix loading, protein separation, blocking, antibody incubations, washing, detection and even data analysis are automated. Because it only takes about 30 minutes of hands-on time to set up an experiment, Wes frees up hours for researchers to spend on more important things. “It’s very easy to use and saves so much time,” attests Dr. Voutila. And if you need to troubleshoot? Well, as Dr. Voutila says, “since it only takes a few hours for an entire run to process, even if there is troubleshooting to do, you can repeat in the same day.” Try that with traditional Westerns! When asked what he enjoys doing in his free time, Dr. Voutila was quick with his reply, “Definitely not Western blots!” And we agree. Get acquainted with Simple Westerns today.