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Thermo Fisher Scientific Welcomes New Members to RNAi Global Initiative

Published: Monday, March 02, 2009
Last Updated: Monday, March 02, 2009
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The new member institutions include the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the University of Leiden in Amsterdam.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has announced that two new members have joined the RNAi Global initiative - an alliance of the Thermo Scientific Dharmacon Products team and leading international research centers.

The new member institutions include the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the University of Leiden in Amsterdam. With the addition of these members, the RNAi Global Initiative represents 37 research institutions in 14 different countries. All of the members are using the Thermo Scientific Dharmacon whole-genome small-interfering RNA (siRNA) library in their research.

At the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, scientists are exploring a variety of genomic functions, including the signaling mechanisms of host/virus interactions, mitochondrial dynamics, cap independent translation and programmed cell death. The goal is to better understand these biological activities so that ultimately they can be manipulated to improve human health.

“We have adopted RNAi screening strategies using the Thermo Scientific Dharmacon libraries as part of a multifaceted approach to understanding the basic biology governing these central themes in human health,” said Dr. David Stojdl, who works in the Apoptosis Research Centre at CHEO. “As part of the RNAi Global Initiative, we hope to plug into a vibrant community of like-minded people with varied expertise and that as a group we will be able to achieve more than we can individually.”

At the University of Leiden-The Netherlands, Bob van de Water and Erik H.J. Danen and their teams within the Division of Toxicology will use siRNA screening to better understand the molecular mechanisms of cancer and the responses of normal and tumor cells to DNA damaging anticancer drugs.

“We will use the siRNA libraries for two broad research lines,” said Dr. Danen. “First, we will seek to identify players in adverse drug reactions. For example, we will delineate pathways mediating DNA-damage responses in stem cells or interactions between inflammation and hepatotoxicants. Here, the aim is to use this information for the design of novel cell-based predictive models for drug toxicity. Second, we want to unravel cancer progression programs in the context of cancer cell adhesion and migration. In this case, we would use identified genes to test their relevance in living models for cancer metastasis. This might lead to the identification of new potential cancer drug targets.”

Dr. Danen said he expects the RNAi Global Initiative to help his team be as effective as possible in setting up these large-scale screens. “By contacting other groups involved in this type of work, some of the pitfalls in designing and interpreting functional genomics screens may be avoided,” he said.

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