The role of microRNA (miRNA), the small, non-coding RNA molecules that regulate human genes, has recently come into greater focus as researchers continue to understand the cellular mechanics of cancer development, says Kang Mei Chen, M.D., the study's lead author.
"While they may be small, miRNAs are no longer being viewed as just molecular noise," says Dr. Chen, a research investigator in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.
"We now recognize miRNAs as bigger players with increasing prominence in theories about cancer."
Findings from the Henry Ford study – supported by a NIH grant – will be presented Tuesday, Sept. 13 in San Francisco at the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting.
MiRNA may help cancer researchers unravel the complexities of what happens at the genomic level of cell evolution. It's estimated that there are at least 800 human miRNAs.
Since miRNAs are differentially expressed in various types of cancers compared with noncancerous tissues, researchers believe that they may play a crucial role in the production or formation of tumors.
"By gaining insight into laryngeal cancer, it gives us another level to understand what goes wrong and when cells decide to embark on a tumor genesis journey. From there, it's possible for researchers to look at how to control cancer growth and improve treatment," says co-author Maria J. Worsham, Ph.D., director of research in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.
The goal of the Henry Ford study was to discover miRNAs specific to laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma – a form of head and neck cancer that starts in the voice box.
Led by Dr. Chen, the researchers performed global miRNA profiling on stored laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma samples, as well as non-cancerous tissue samples from the larynx.
The team then used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction – a fast and inexpensive technique used to copy small segments of DNA – to verify miRNAs in the laryngeal cancer samples.
Of the 800 human miRNAs, 23 were found to be different between the cancerous and normal laryngeal tissue samples.
Among the 23 miRNAs tied to laryngeal cancer through the Henry Ford study, 15 had yet to be reported in head and neck cancer.
With the field narrowed to 23 miRNAs in laryngeal cancer, it presents researchers with the opportunity to quantify each piece of RNA and further study miRNAs in head and neck cancer, notes Dr. Chen.
The NIH-funded head and neck squamous carcinoma cohort for Detroit, with over 1,000 primary patients, includes more than 200 laryngeal sites, giving Henry Ford researchers the opportunity to look at miRNA expression in a larger group of laryngeal cancers as well as in other head and neck cancer sites.
Along with Drs. Chen and Worsham, study co-authors from Henry Ford are Josena K. Stephen, M.D.; Shaleta Havard; Veena Shah, M.D.; Glendon Gardner, M.D.; and Vanessa G. Schweitzer, M.D.
Research Support: NIH grant R01DE15990.
Krista Hopson | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy