Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

microRNA Cooperation Mutes Breast Cancer Oncogenes

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Turning up a few microRNAs a little may offer as much anti-breast-cancer activity as turning up one microRNA a lot – and without the unwanted side effects.

It’s a bit like the classic thought experiment known as the “tumor problem” formulated by Karl Dunker in 1945 and used frequently in the problem-solving literature: Imagine a person suffers from a malignant tumor in the center of her body. Radiation strong enough to kill the tumor kills any healthy tissue through which it passes. Without operating or killing healthy tissue, how can a doctor use radiation to kill the tumor?

The answer is to target the tumor from many angles – many weak rays of radiation pass harmlessly through healthy tissue, but their combined power at the point of the tumor is enough to kill it.

In the present study, CU Cancer Center investigators used “weak” induction of multiple microRNAs that combined from many angles to regulate the known breast cancer oncogenes erbB2/erbB3 (the “tumor”) without regulating non-target genes (the “healthy tissue”).

“Imagine you have a microRNA that regulates genes A and B. Then you have another microRNA that regulates genes B and C. You amplify each microRNA to a degree that doesn’t effect gene A or C, but their combined effect regulates gene B,” says Bolin Liu, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

microRNA is an attractive target in cancer therapy – more microRNA can lead to less gene expression, turning down or off the oncogenes that cause cancer. However, to get the desired effect on gene expression frequently requires enhancing microRNA expression 100- or 1,000-fold (or more). And the induced microRNA likely has other genetic targets – it will turn down other genes as well as the oncogene, sometimes with unfortunate consequences.

“The current study showed that two microRNAs enhanced only 3-to-6 times their natural expression could cooperate to regulate an oncogene that had previously only been affected by a microRNA enhanced by many, many times this amount,” Liu says.

Specifically, the group’s work shows that no one alone, but any two of the three microRNAs that regulate erbB2/erbB3 expression can affect the levels of proteins produced by the genes. These are miR-125a, miR-15b, and miR-205, which act in concert to regulate the expression of erbB2/erbB3, which are cancer-causing products of the oncogenes.

But in general, the group’s novel technique could have implications far past erbB2/erbB3, allowing researchers and eventually doctors to mute the genes they want to mute without also dampening the expression of genes regulated by only one or only the other microRNA partner.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Epigenomic Abnormalities Predict Patient Survival in Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
University of Colorado Cancer Center looks into how epigenetics could be used to control cancer.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Scientific News
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Fighting Cancer with the Power of Immunity
Researchers at MIT have used a combination of four different therapies to activate both of the immune system’s two branches, producing a coordinated attack that led to the complete disappearance of large, aggressive tumors in mice.
Influential Cancer Researcher Receives Agilent Thought Leader Award
Biologist Scott Lowe receives award in recognition for his contributions to cancer biology.
Gene-Editing Cures Genetic Blood Disorder in Mice
New technology may offer minimally invasive treatment for genetic disorders of the blood.
New Compound Shows Promise in Treating Multiple Human Cancers
The research presents a new way to efficiently kill these cancerous cells and holds promise for the treatment of all cancers.
ALS Study Reveals Role of RNA-Binding Proteins
The findings are a significant step forward in validating RNA-based therapy as a treatment for ALS.
IU Research Reveals Link between Molecular Mechanisms in Prostate Cancer and Ewing's sarcoma
Researchers at IU have suggested that the molecular mechanism that triggers the rare disease Ewing's sarcoma could act as a potential new direction for the treatment of more than half of patients with prostate cancer.
Nanomedicine Aims to Improve HIV Drug Therapies
New research aims to improve the administration and availability of drug therapies to HIV patients using nanotechnology.
Lab-on-a-Chip to Help Detect Cancer
In this podcast, we speak to Gustavo Stolovitsky to learn about his career and the work he is doing at IBM Research.
Tumor Markers Reveal Lethality Of Bladder Cancers
Researchers found that detection of certain tumor cells in early stage cancers helps identify high-risk cancers.

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos