DNA findings hold potential for cancert treatment

October 9, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Six years ago, Boise State University biology professor Greg Hampikian and computer science colleague Tim Andersen announced that they had identified tiny DNA and protein sequences that were absent in nature. Hampikian termed these sequences 'nullomers' and a headline in the New Scientist magazine proclaimed the sequences as "DNA Too Dangerous to Exist."

The researchers proposed that these sequences could have properties that were incompatible with life, and might serve as drugs to kill pathogens and even cancer. New research findings suggest this may be true.

The October issue of the online journal Peptides will publish the first results of nullomer-based drugs. They show that these compounds kill breast and in the laboratory. More significantly, while their lethal effects on cancer cells increase over time, nullomer effects on normal cells decrease over time.

"We have a long way to go, but we finally have proof that nullomers have biological effects that can benefit human health," Hampikian said.

Hampikian is known internationally for his work in , and he played a key role in the exoneration of Amanda Knox, the American college student convicted of the 2007 murder of her roommate in Perugia, Italy. In his Boise State lab, Hampikian and student and faculty collaborators work on diverse DNA projects, including developing new cancer drugs, discovering new species of single-celled organisms in Idaho, studying Basque and inventing micro devices.

"Boise State researchers are targeting issues that positively impact the lives of Boise residents, as well as citizens of the world," said Boise State President Bob Kustra. "This is one more example of how our faculty are continuing to make major strides in areas as diverse as biomolecular science, , health and public policy, raptor studies, economic development and school improvement."

Explore further: Breakthrough could make 'smart drugs' effective for many cancer patients

More information: Hampikian's article can be viewed online at www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0196978112004044

Related Stories

Breakthrough could make 'smart drugs' effective for many cancer patients

June 27, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Newcastle and Harvard University reseachers have found that blocking a key component of the DNA repair process could extend the use of a new range of 'smart' cancer drugs called PARP inhibitors.

Recommended for you

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

0 comments

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.