Using millions of years of cell evolution in the fight against cancer
As the medical community continues to make positive strides in personalized cancer therapy, scientists know some dead ends are unavoidable. Drugs that target specific genes in cancerous cells are effective, but not all proteins are targetable. In fact, it has been estimated that as few as 10 to 15 percent of human proteins are potentially targetable by drugs. For this reason, Georgia Tech researchers are focusing on ways to fight cancer by attacking defective genes before they are able to make proteins.
Professor John McDonald is studying micro RNAs (miRNAs), a class of small RNAs that interact with messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that have been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer. McDonald's lab placed two different miRNAs (MiR-7 and MiR-128) into ovarian cancer cells and watched how they affected the gene system. The findings are published in the current edition of the journal BMC Medical Genomics.
"Each inserted miRNA created hundreds of thousands of gene expression changes, but only about 20 percent of them were caused by direct interactions with mRNAs," said McDonald. "The majority of the changes were indirect they occurred downstream and were consequences of the initial reactions."
McDonald initially wondered if those secondary interactions could be a setback for the potential use of miRNAs, because most of them changed the gene expressions of something other than the intended targets. However, McDonald noticed that most of what changed downstream was functionally coordinated.
miR-7 transfection most significantly affected the pathways involved with cell adhesion, epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMT) and other processes linked with cancer metastasis. The pathways most often affected by miR-128 transfection were different. They were more related to cell cycle control and processes involved with cellular replication another process that is overactive in cancer cells.
"miRNAs have evolved for millions of years in order to coordinately regulate hundreds to thousands of genes together on the cellular level," said McDonald. "If we can understand which miRNAs affect which suites of genes and their coordinated functions, it could allow clinicians to attack cancer cells on a systems level, rather than going after genes individually."
Clinical trials for miRNAs are just beginning to be explored, but definitive findings are likely still years away because there are hundreds of miRNAs whose cellular functions must be fully understood. Another challenge facing scientists is developing ways to effectively target therapeutic miRNAs to cancer cells, something McDonald and his Georgia Tech peers are also investigating.
Journal reference: BMC Medical Genomics
Provided by Georgia Institute of Technology
- Useful biomarkers for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma Jan 25, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers identify key role of microRNAs in melanoma metastasis Jul 11, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers Identify microRNA targets in C. elegans Jan 10, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Micro-RNA's contribute to risk for panic disorder Mar 24, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Pair of microRNA molecules controls major oncogene in most common leukemia Dec 15, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Two mutations central to the development of infantile myofibromatosis (IM)—a disorder characterized by multiple tumors involving the skin, bone, and soft tissue—may provide new therapeutic targets, according to researchers ...
Genetics May 24, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Can human genes be patented? That was the question posed by Alan J. Snyder, vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies at Lehigh, and Lee Kaplan, scientific director of cellular and molecular genetics ...
Genetics May 24, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
Genetics May 22, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, in partnership with the University's Brain Tumor Program, have developed a new mouse model of malignant peripheral ...
Genetics May 20, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Northwestern University scientists have shown a gene involved in neurodegenerative disease also plays a critical role in the proper function of the circadian clock.
Genetics May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 1 |
Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to the results of a multicentre randomised double blind trial presented today at Heart Failure 2013 congress. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality ...
17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 5
(HealthDay)—Animals make great companions for senior citizens, but elderly people who always drive with a pet in the car are far more likely to crash than those who never drive with a pet, researchers have ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
Heart failure accelerates the aging process and brings on early andropausal syndrome (AS), according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. AS, also referred to as male 'menopause', was four times ...
17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 1
Mortality and length of stay are highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight, according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. The analysis of nearly 1 million ...
17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—Department of Justice lawyers have again asked a federal appeals court in New York to delay lifting age restrictions and prescription requirements on an emergency contraceptive popularly known as the morning-after ...
17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0