Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using millions of years of cell evolution in fight against cancer

Date:
August 7, 2012
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
Researchers are focusing on ways to fight cancer by attacking defective genes before they are able to make proteins. They are studying micro RNAs (miRNAs), a class of small RNAs that interact with messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that have been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer. Scientists placed two different miRNAs (MiR-7 and MiR-128) into ovarian cancer cells and watched how they affected the gene system.

As the medical community continues to make positive strides in personalized cancer therapy, scientists know some dead ends are unavoidable. Drugs that target specific genes in cancerous cells are effective, but not all proteins are targetable. In fact, it has been estimated that as few as 10 to 15 percent of human proteins are potentially targetable by drugs. For this reason, Georgia Tech researchers are focusing on ways to fight cancer by attacking defective genes before they are able to make proteins.

Related Articles


Professor John McDonald is studying micro RNAs (miRNAs), a class of small RNAs that interact with messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that have been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer. McDonald's lab placed two different miRNAs (MiR-7 and MiR-128) into ovarian cancer cells and watched how they affected the gene system. The findings are published in the current edition of the journal BMC Medical Genomics.

"Each inserted miRNA created hundreds of thousands of gene expression changes, but only about 20 percent of them were caused by direct interactions with mRNAs," said McDonald. "The majority of the changes were indirect -- they occurred downstream and were consequences of the initial reactions."

McDonald initially wondered if those secondary interactions could be a setback for the potential use of miRNAs, because most of them changed the gene expressions of something other than the intended targets. However, McDonald noticed that most of what changed downstream was functionally coordinated.

miR-7 transfection most significantly affected the pathways involved with cell adhesion, epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMT) and other processes linked with cancer metastasis. The pathways most often affected by miR-128 transfection were different. They were more related to cell cycle control and processes involved with cellular replication -- another process that is overactive in cancer cells.

"miRNAs have evolved for millions of years in order to coordinately regulate hundreds to thousands of genes together on the cellular level," said McDonald. "If we can understand which miRNAs affect which suites of genes and their coordinated functions, it could allow clinicians to attack cancer cells on a systems level, rather than going after genes individually."

Clinical trials for miRNAs are just beginning to be explored, but definitive findings are likely still years away because there are hundreds of miRNAs whose cellular functions must be fully understood. Another challenge facing scientists is developing ways to effectively target therapeutic miRNAs to cancer cells, something McDonald and his Georgia Tech peers are also investigating.

McDonald is a professor in the School of Biology in Georgia Tech's College of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shubin W. Shahab, Lilya V. Matyunina, Christopher G. Hill, Lijuan Wang, Roman Mezencev, L. DeEtte Walker, John F. McDonald. The effects of MicroRNA transfections on global patterns of gene expression in ovarian cancer cells are functionally coordinated. BMC Medical Genomics, 2012; 5 (1): 33 DOI: 10.1186/1755-8794-5-33

Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Using millions of years of cell evolution in fight against cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120807132021.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2012, August 7). Using millions of years of cell evolution in fight against cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120807132021.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Using millions of years of cell evolution in fight against cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120807132021.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins