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

Small Bits of Genetic Material Fight Cancer's Spread

Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013
Bookmark and Share
A class of molecules called microRNAs may offer cancer patients two ways to combat their disease.

Researchers at Princeton University have found that microRNAs — small bits of genetic material capable of repressing the expression of certain genes — may serve as both therapeutic targets and predictors of metastasis, or a cancer's spread from its initial site to other parts of the body. The research was published in the journal Cancer Cell.

MicroRNAs are specifically useful for tackling bone metastasis, which occurs in about 70 percent of patients with late-stage cancer, said senior author Yibin Kang, Princeton's Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology. During bone metastasis, tumors invade the bone and take over the cells known as osteoclasts that normally break down old bone material as new material grows. These cells then go into overdrive and dissolve the bone far more quickly than they would during normal bone turnover, which leads to bone lesions, bone fracture, nerve compression and extreme pain.

"The tumor uses the osteoclasts as forced labor," explained Kang, who is a member of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and adviser to Brian Ell, a graduate student in the Princeton Department of Molecular Biology and first author on the study. Kang and Ell worked with scientists at the IRCCS Scientific Institute of Romagna for the Study and Treatment of Cancer in Meldola, Italy, and the University Cancer Center in Hamburg, Germany. In this video, Ell describes his research on using small RNAs for treating and monitoring bone metastasis.

MicroRNAs can reduce that forced labor by inhibiting osteoclast proteins and thus limiting the number of osteoclasts present. Ell and his colleagues observed that bones exhibiting metastasis developed significantly fewer lesions when injected with microRNAs. Their findings suggest that microRNAs could be effective treatment targets for tackling bone metastasis — and also may help doctors detect the cancer's spread to the bone, Kang said. Samples collected from human patients revealed a strong correlation between elevated levels of another group of microRNAs and the occurrence of bone metastasis, the researchers found.

In a commentary accompanying the study in Cancer Cell, researchers who were not associated with the work wrote, "This [study] represents significant insight into our understanding of the organ-specific function and pathological activity of miRNAs, which could lead to improvements in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of bone metastases and elucidates a unique aspect of the bone microenvironment to support tumor growth in bone." The commentary was authored by David Waning, Khalid Mohammad and Theresa Guise of Indiana University in Indianapolis.

Kang said he ultimately hopes to extend mice experimentation to clinical trials. "In the end, we want to help the patients," he said.


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 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ 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 TechnologyNetworks.com 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

Physicists, Biologists Unite to Expose How Cancer Spreads
New study has found that cancer cells that can break out of a tumor are more aggressive and nimble than nonmalignant cells.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Nanotechnology Breakthrough could Dramatically Improve Medical Tests
A laboratory test used to detect disease and perform biological research could be made more than 3 million times more sensitive, say researchers who combined standard biological tools with a breakthrough in nanotechnology.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
mRNA Profile Independently Predicts Prostate Cancer Prognosis
Scientists have found that classifying prostate tumors according to their mRNA expression patterns can help predict disease aggressiveness and poor prognosis in patients with low- or mid-range Gleason scores.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Scientific News
Breast Cancer Cells Found To Switch Molecular Characteristics
Spontaneous interconversion between HER2-positive and HER2-negative states could contribute to progression, treatment resistance in breast cancer.
Some Breast Cancer Patients With Low Genetic Risk Could Skip Chemotherapy
Genetic test can help predict survival and guide treatment options.
Symmetry is Key to Collagen
Researchers describe how symmetry may be the key to growing collagen fibres outside the body.
Lose Weight, Escape the Eight: Weight-Based Cancer Risk
IARC has identified eight additional cancer sites linked to overweight and obesity.
Unravelling the Metastatic Mechanism of Melanoma
Research has uncovered the mechanism of melanoma spreading; the findings could lead to a cure for the disease.
Gene Therapy Via Ultrasound
Research into a gene therapy approach called sonoporation could help combat heart disease and cancer.
Novel MRI Technique Distinguishes Healthy Prostate Tissue from Cancer
The UTSW researchers have determined that glucose stimulates release of the zinc ions from inside epithelial cells, which they could then track on MRIs.
Precision Nanobots Target Cancerous Tumours
Researchers achieve breakthrough toward redefining anti-cancer drug administration using nanorobotics.
PARP Proteins Explore Therapeutic Targets in Cancer
Researchers at UTSW have identified a previously unknown role of a certain class of proteins that opens the door to explore therapeutic targets in cancer and other disease.
Novel Therapeutic Approach for Blood Disorders
Gene editing of human blood-forming stem cells mimics a benign genetic condition that helps to overcome sickle cell disease and other blood disorders.
SELECTBIO

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
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!