Genetic switch shuts down lung cancer tumors in mice

October 25, 2012

Yale researchers manipulated a tiny genetic switch and halted growth of aggressive lung cancer tumors in mice and even prevented tumors from forming.

The activation of a single managed to neutralize the effects of two of the most notorious genes in cancer's arsenal, suggesting it may have a role treating several forms of cancer, the researchers report in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal .

"This is pretty much the best pre-clinical data that show microRNAs can be effective in lung cancer treatment," said Frank Slack, professor of molecular, cellular & developmental biology, researcher for the Yale Cancer Center, and senior author of the paper. "These cancer genes are identical to ones found in many forms of human cancers and we are hopeful the microRNA will be of therapeutic benefit in human cancer."

Unlike drugs that act upon existing proteins, microRNAs are small pieces of genetic material that can shut down and turn off genes that produce the proteins. Slack and co-author Andrea Kasinski wanted to see if one of these microRNAs, miR-34, could block the actions of K-Ras and p53 genes, which promote proliferation and survival of cancer cells, respectively. Mice with these two mutant genes invariably develop tumors but were cancer-free when researchers activated miR-34. Also, tumor growth was halted in mice that were treated with miR-34 after they had developed cancer.

Explore further: Nanoparticles cut off 'addicted' tumors from source of their survival

Related Stories

Nanoparticles cut off 'addicted' tumors from source of their survival

May 28, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Yale biologists and engineers have designed drug-loaded nanoparticles that target the soft underbelly of many types of cancer — a tiny gene product that tumors depend upon to replicate and survive.

In cancer, molecular signals that recruit blood vessels also trigger metastasis

December 19, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Cancer cells are most deadly when they’re on the move — able not only to destroy whatever organ they are first formed in, but also to create colonies elsewhere in the body. New research has now ...

Recommended for you

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

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.