Regulus Therapeutics and Collaborators Publish Data on a Critical Role for miR-21 in Brain Tumors
News Aug 20, 2008
Regulus Therapeutics LLC and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced the publication of new research in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology on the role of the microRNA known as miR-21 in regulating certain cancer cells.
Researchers at Regulus Therapeutics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and other collaborators discovered a new role for miR-21 in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most malignant and aggressive form of glioma, a primary brain tumor.
Research performed in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and other researchers demonstrated that miR-21 is responsible for the regulation of multiple genes associated with glioma tumor cell death, migration and invasiveness.
In the peer-reviewed research, scientists showed that increased miR-21 levels in tumor cells correlated with the grade or aggressiveness of the tumor; highest levels of miR-21 were associated with the most aggressive forms of GBM. To elucidate the role that miR-21 plays in GBM, anti-miR-21 compounds were used to inhibit miR-21 function in human tumor cells.
Inhibiting miR-21 function affected the expression of genes associated with tumor invasiveness, proliferation, migration and other processes exploited by tumor cells. As a whole, these data correlated miR-21 regulation with the aggressiveness of the tumor, and suggest that miR-21 is involved in the regulation of many different cellular processes necessary for tumorogenesis.
“The over-expression of miR-21 is observed in a variety of cancers, including glioblastoma, breast, lung, colon and others. In this study we were able to identify genes affected by levels of miR-21 over-expression. Further, our studies show that blocking miR-21 function disrupted many of the pathways critical for tumor invasiveness and proliferation,” said Peter Linsley, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Regulus Therapeutics.
“This new research adds to a rapidly growing body of evidence suggesting that inhibiting the function of a single microRNA could have a profound effect on multiple disease-causing proteins, thereby interfering with entire cellular pathways and defining a new therapeutic approach for treatment of disease.”
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