New fluorescent tools for cancer diagnosis

May 24, 2013

In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) and other non-coding RNAs are small molecules that help control the expression of specific proteins. In recent years they have emerged as disease biomarkers. miRNA profiles have been used to establish tissue origin for cancers of unknown primary origin, determine prognosis, monitor therapeutic responses and screen for disease, but clinically tractable, diagnostic methods for monitoring miRNA expression in patient samples are not currently available.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Thomas Tuschl and colleagues at Rockefeller University developed a multicolor fluorescence labeling method that can be used to visualize miRNAs in tissue sections, such as those recovered from biopsies.

Using this method, Tuschl and colleagues were able to identify tumor specific miRNAs in and (accompanying image) and distinguish between FFPE sections from the two tumor types.

This proof-of concept study indicates that RNA FISH could serve as a molecular diagnostic in a clinical setting. In a companion commentary, Gennadi Glinksy of Stanford University discusses how this technology could contribute to the development of RNA-based diagnostics and therapeutics.

Explore further: Researchers identify need to sample multiple tumor zones in breast cancer

More information: Multicolor microRNA FISH effectively differentiates tumor types, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI68760
RNA-guided diagnostics and therapeutics for next-generation individualized nanomedicine, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(6):2350–2352. doi:10.1172/JCI69268

Related Stories

Identifying key regulators of kidney injury

May 9, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered class of RNA molecules that regulate how genes are expressed. UCD researchers led by Conway Fellow, Professor Catherine Godson are studying the role of miRNAs ...

Recommended for you

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.