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
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 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ 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
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy
Berkeley lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier.
RNA-Based Drugs Give More Control Over Gene Editing
CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique can be transiently activated and inactivated using RNA-based drugs, giving researchers more precise control in correcting and inactivating genes.
University of Glasgow Researchers Make An Impact in 60 Seconds
Early-career researchers were invited to submit an engaging, dynamic and compelling 60 second video illuminating an aspect of their research.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing: Check Three Times, Cut Once
Two new studies from UC Berkeley should give scientists who use CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering greater confidence that they won’t inadvertently edit the wrong DNA.
Genetically Engineering Algae to Kill Cancer Cells
New interdisciplinary research has revealed the frontline role tiny algae could play in the battle against cancer, through the innovative use of nanotechnology.
How to Control Shape, Structure of DNA and RNA
Researchers have used computational modelling to shed light on precisely how charged gold nanoparticles influence the structure of DNA and RNA.
Advancing Genome Editing of Blood Stem Cells
Genome editing techniques for blood stem cells just got better, thanks to a team of researchers at USC and Sangamo BioSciences.

Skyscraper Banner
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
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos