Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

RNA-based therapy brings new hope for an incurable blood cancer

Date:
October 10, 2012
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
A new class of drugs that interfere with the aggressive over-production of a protein related to Mantle Cell Lymphoma is being developed. The drugs have the ability to kill off the mutated protein and stop the over-proliferation of cells.

Three thousand new cases of Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), a form of blood cancer, appear in the United States each year. With a median survival span of only five to seven years, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, this disease is devastating, and new therapies are sorely needed.

One of the characteristics that defines MCL is heightened activity in the gene CCND1, which leads to the aggressive over-production of Cyclin D1, a protein that controls the proliferation of cells, explains Prof. Dan Peer of Tel Aviv University's Department of Cell Research and Immunology. In this disease, Cyclin D1 production spins out of control, producing a 3,000 to 5,000 fold increase.

Now, in an international collaboration between academia and industry, Prof. Peer has developed a new class of drugs based on RNA interference, which can repair or destroy faulty proteins and reprogram cells to act in normal ways. The drugs have the ability to kill off the mutated protein and stop the over-proliferation of cells. Their method, proven in experiments with human cells and published in the journal PLoS One, was generously supported by the Lewis Trust and the Israeli Science Foundation.

Academia and industry work for a cure

In the past, scientists have attempted and failed to knock out this protein in the quest to develop a cure for MCL. But despite the prevalent belief that Cyclin D1 is not an effective target for therapies, Prof. Peer and his fellow researchers, including his PhD student Shiri Weinstein and Dr. Rafi Emmanuel and the Sheba Medical Center's Prof. Arnon Nagler and Dr. Avigdor Abraham, knew there was cause for hope.

To prove their theory that Cyclin D1 was indeed an appropriate target for the treatment of MCL, the researchers turned to two companies considered world-experts in RNA, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Integrated DNA Technologies in Iowa, both of which donated their time and resources to the project. Working in parallel, they were able to design potent RNA interference sequences to stop the production of Cyclin D1.

In MCL, Cyclin D1 is the exclusive cause of the over-production of B Lymphocytes, cells responsible for generating antibodies, explains Prof. Peer. This makes the protein a perfect target for RNA interference -- because normal, healthy cells don't express the gene, therapies that destroy the gene will only attack cancer cells. The RNA interference that the researchers have developed targets the faulty Cyclin D1 within the cancerous cells. And when the cells are inhibited from proliferating, they sense they are being targeted and begin to "commit suicide," he says.

In the lab, the researchers have successfully used their RNA interference in human cells, a crucial step towards proving that Cyclin D1 can be targeted through the right interventions. "Ultimately, we want to be able to cure this disease, and I think we are on the way," says Prof. Peer. He hopes that their results might cause scientists to reconsider previous and unproductive results on the effectiveness of treating MCL by addressing aberrations of this protein.

Pairing with nano-delivery methods

The researchers are working to develop a mouse population with MCL to test their newly-developed therapies in vivo. Typically, new therapies for any disease are tested on human cells as well as mouse models in the lab before being taken to clinical trials in humans. But there has never before been a test using mice with this disease, says Prof. Peer, a deficiency that has limited the quality of research. The animal test will allow researchers to conduct a more cautious and in-depth investigation of this new class of drugs before moving to the clinical stage.

As for strategies for delivering the new therapy into the body, the researchers will make use of Prof. Peer's extensive work with nano-sized medical "submarines" which are designed to travel to the source of disease or disorder in the human body, and offload drugs inside specific cells or proteins as needed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shiri Weinstein, Rafi Emmanuel, Ashley M. Jacobi, Avigdor Abraham, Mark A. Behlke, Andrew G. Sprague, Tatiana I. Novobrantseva, Arnon Nagler, Dan Peer. RNA Inhibition Highlights Cyclin D1 as a Potential Therapeutic Target for Mantle Cell Lymphoma. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (8): e43343 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043343

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "RNA-based therapy brings new hope for an incurable blood cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010131546.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2012, October 10). RNA-based therapy brings new hope for an incurable blood cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010131546.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "RNA-based therapy brings new hope for an incurable blood cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010131546.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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:
from the past week

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