Scientists discover cancer treatment in ‘junk DNA’September 29th, 2010 - 2:25 pm ICT by ANI
London, Sep 29 (ANI): Scientists have discovered a way to shrink tumours in certain cancers - a finding that provides hope for new treatments.
The cancers in question are those caused by a new class of genes known as ‘microRNAs’, produced by parts of the genome that, until recently, were dismissed as ‘junk DNA’.
The current finding identifies one particular microRNA (microRNA 380) that appears to disable the king of tumour suppressors, the P53 gene. In order for a cell to become cancerous, P53 must either be mutated or otherwise disabled.
For the research, Australian and American scientists studied neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system in which 99pc of patients do not have mutations of the P53 gene.
Dr Alex Swarbrick, from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Dr Susan Woods from Brisbane’s Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Dr Andrei Goga from The University of California San Francisco found instead that neuroblastomas disable p53 by over-producing microRNA 380. When they blocked the microRNA, P53 production resumed, cancer cells died and tumours became much smaller.
“The revolutionary thing about this finding is that it’s the first time anyone has blocked the growth of a primary tumour by the simple delivery of a microRNA inhibitor,” said Alex Swarbrick, from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
“By that, I mean we delivered the microRNA inhibitor in a way we might give it to a person - as a twice-weekly injection - not using some genetic trick. It’s the closest thing to a clinical result that’s yet been published. That, of course, makes this microRNA a potential therapeutic target for all cancers that depend on it,” he added.
The results are reported in the prestigious international journal Nature Medicine, online today. (ANI)
- Scientists isolate gene common to unrelated cancers - Jan 02, 2012
- Silencing 'hedgehog' molecule halts cancer - Jun 06, 2011
- How ovarian cancer resists chemotherapy - Mar 03, 2011
- Autism effects may be reversible - Apr 24, 2010
- Key step in body's ability to make red blood cells found - Aug 01, 2010
- New discovery shows promise against pancreatic cancer - Dec 16, 2010
- Key enzyme in melanoma cell development found - Jun 18, 2010
- New way to kill cancer cells discovered - Sep 18, 2011
- This is it - women's immunity gene! - Sep 28, 2011
- Boffins identify 'gas pedal', 'brake' for uncontrolled cell growth - Aug 02, 2010
- Gene makes ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy - Mar 03, 2011
- How loss of key protein promotes aggressive form of leukaemia - Jul 02, 2010
- Function of novel molecule that underlies human deafness revealed - Jan 22, 2011
- Nine genes found to affect bone density - Aug 08, 2012
- RNA-based drugs may prevent premature labour - Nov 16, 2010
Tags: american scientists, california san francisco, cancer cells, cancer treatment, childhood cancer, clinical result, dr alex, garvan institute of medical research, goga, journal nature medicine, junk dna, microrna, p53 gene, prestigious international journal, queensland institute of medical research, research dr, susan woods, swarbrick, therapeutic target, university of california san francisco