Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small bits of genetic material fight cancer's spread

Date:
October 15, 2013
Source:
Princeton University
Summary:
Researchers have found that microRNAs -- small bits of genetic material capable of repressing the expression of certain genes -- may serve as both therapeutic targets and predictors of metastasis, or a cancer's spread from its initial site to other parts of the body.

Researchers at Princeton University have found that microRNAs -- small bits of genetic material capable of repressing the expression of certain genes -- may serve as both therapeutic targets and predictors of metastasis, or a cancer's spread from its initial site to other parts of the body. In this image, breast cancer cells (right) spread toward the hindlimb bone (left), using the host's own bone-destroying cells (osteoclasts) to continue their advance.
Credit: Image courtesy of Yibin Kang, Department of Molecular Biology

A class of molecules called microRNAs may offer cancer patients two ways to combat their disease.

Researchers at Princeton University have found that microRNAs — small bits of genetic material capable of repressing the expression of certain genes — may serve as both therapeutic targets and predictors of metastasis, or a cancer's spread from its initial site to other parts of the body. The research was published in the journal Cancer Cell.

MicroRNAs are specifically useful for tackling bone metastasis, which occurs in about 70 percent of patients with late-stage cancer, said senior author Yibin Kang, Princeton's Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology. During bone metastasis, tumors invade the bone and take over the cells known as osteoclasts that normally break down old bone material as new material grows. These cells then go into overdrive and dissolve the bone far more quickly than they would during normal bone turnover, which leads to bone lesions, bone fracture, nerve compression and extreme pain.

"The tumor uses the osteoclasts as forced labor," explained Kang, who is a member of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and adviser to Brian Ell, a graduate student in the Princeton Department of Molecular Biology and first author on the study. Kang and Ell worked with scientists at the IRCCS Scientific Institute of Romagna for the Study and Treatment of Cancer in Meldola, Italy, and the University Cancer Center in Hamburg, Germany. In this video, Ell describes his research on using small RNAs for treating and monitoring bone metastasis.

MicroRNAs can reduce that forced labor by inhibiting osteoclast proteins and thus limiting the number of osteoclasts present. Ell and his colleagues observed that bones exhibiting metastasis developed significantly fewer lesions when injected with microRNAs. Their findings suggest that microRNAs could be effective treatment targets for tackling bone metastasis — and also may help doctors detect the cancer's spread to the bone, Kang said. Samples collected from human patients revealed a strong correlation between elevated levels of another group of microRNAs and the occurrence of bone metastasis, the researchers found.

In a commentary accompanying the study in Cancer Cell, researchers who were not associated with the work wrote, "This [study] represents significant insight into our understanding of the organ-specific function and pathological activity of miRNAs, which could lead to improvements in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of bone metastases and elucidates a unique aspect of the bone microenvironment to support tumor growth in bone." The commentary was authored by David Waning, Khalid Mohammad and Theresa Guise of Indiana University in Indianapolis.

Kang said he ultimately hopes to extend mice experimentation to clinical trials. "In the end, we want to help the patients," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Princeton University. The original article was written by Tara Thean. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian Ell, Laura Mercatali, Toni Ibrahim, Neil Campbell, Heidi Schwarzenbach, Klaus Pantel, Dino Amadori, Yibin Kang. Tumor-Induced Osteoclast miRNA Changes as Regulators and Biomarkers of Osteolytic Bone Metastasis. Cancer Cell, 2013; 24 (4): 542 DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2013.09.008

Cite This Page:

Princeton University. "Small bits of genetic material fight cancer's spread." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015142927.htm>.
Princeton University. (2013, October 15). Small bits of genetic material fight cancer's spread. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015142927.htm
Princeton University. "Small bits of genetic material fight cancer's spread." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015142927.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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