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Microfluidic Technology Fuels the Growing microRNA Revolution

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LC Sciences has announced the publication of the 30th peer-reviewed study by one of its customers using the company’s microarray service for analyzing microRNA expression profiles and for discovery of novel small RNAs. These studies, by leading researchers in the field, contribute to a fast growing body of knowledge defining this recently discovered class of regulatory RNAs.

LC Sciences’ microRNA profiling service, powered by its µParaflo® microfluidic technology can provide fully analyzed data enabling researchers to immediately move forward with research, and publish their results faster. Microarray results require extensive validation prior to publication and the speed with which researchers using this microRNA profiling service have published their discoveries demonstrates the high-quality and reliability of these results.

It has become clear that the simple idea that DNA makes RNA which makes protein is not a complete picture. We now know that RNA does much more than just make protein. Transcriptome microRNAs and other small RNAs found in non-coding regions of genomes, once considered unimportant, even “junk”, have been found to regulate the expression of genes acting in almost every area of biology.

The publications to date by LC Sciences’ customers span a diverse range of study areas, including cancer research, neuroscience, cardiovascular research, reproductive biology, plant science, virology, stem cell research, endocrinology, and small RNA discovery.

The study of microRNA has attracted intense attention and one of the most exciting aspects of this field is many scientists are now thinking about just how much more we don’t know. Just as the regulatory functions of some of the known microRNAs are finally understood, many more microRNAs are just being discovered. The number of microRNA sequences in the public database (miRBase) has been increasing steadily as new microRNAs are experimentally verified and deposited there.

The 30th study, entitled “Endogenous human microRNAs that suppress breast cancer metastasis” appeared in the January 10th issue of Nature. Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center uncovered a set of microRNAs for which expression is specifically lost as human breast cancer cells develop metastatic potential. They further showed that restoring the expression of these microRNAs in malignant cells suppresses lung and bone metastasis by human cancer cells in vivo.

The strong association of the loss of expression with metastatic relapse suggests the potential for the use of these molecules in prognostic stratification of breast cancer patients in addition to conventional clinical and pathological staging markers.