Rosetta Genomics and Weizmann Institute Scientists Identify Role of microRNA in Cancer Suppression
News Jul 09, 2007
The findings suggest the potential for a specific, single microRNA (miR-34a) to be used as a drug candidate in cancer therapy to increase programmed cell-death (apoptosis) in the context of the potent tumor suppressor p53.
p53 has been widely accepted as a powerful tumor inhibitor that can prevent or slow the spread of cancer cells by facilitating apoptosis. In this study, activation of p53 in-vivo in mice as well as in cultured human cells induced the expression of a specific microRNA (miR-34a).
Based on the likelihood that miR-34a could itself play a role in cellular apoptosis, researchers introduced miR-34a directly into human cancer cell lines to determine its impact on tumor cell behavior.
The results clearly demonstrated that overexpression of miR-34a led to increased cancer cell death as well as promoted other important anti-proliferative activities. The ability of miR-34a to promote apoptosis of cancer cells makes it an attractive candidate tumor suppressor.
The data presented in Molecular Cell is also supported by recent studies (Gaur et at., 2007, Welch et al. 2007) showing that miR-34a is under-expressed in central nervous system tumors.
"This is a groundbreaking study shedding light on the critical role microRNAs play in fighting cancer and highlights their potential to act as novel drug targets", noted Dr. Dalia Cohen, Global Head of Research and Development at Rosetta Genomics.
"By introducing increased amounts of miR-34a into the cell-lines, Rosetta Genomics researchers and the world class team at Weizmann Institute have been able to show that the overexpression of this specific microRNA is directly linked to tumor suppression. Moreover, the results suggest the potential that a synthetic miR-34a-like agent could be used as a cancer therapy. We strongly believe this research continues to validate the opportunities for microRNA-based therapeutics."
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) look at large populations to find genes that contribute to common, multi-gene traits like height or obesity. These comprehensive studies frequently turn up large numbers of tiny genetic variations that occur more often in people who are tall, obese, etc. So which genes should scientists investigate further?READ MORE
In recent years, numerous studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack. A study found that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night have lower blood levels of three physiological regulators, or microRNAs, which influence gene expression and play a key role in maintaining vascular health.