Since their discovery in the 1990s, microRNAs have proven to play a complex role in normal and abnormal functioning of many organ systems. In the April issue of Translational Research, entitled "MicroRNAs: A Potential New Frontier for Medicine," an international group of medical experts explores several themes related to our current understanding of microRNAs and the role they may play in the future of medicine.
A commentary by Monty Montano, Department of Medicine, Boston University, provides a general introduction to this single-topic issue. He states, "In the coming years, there is much to be learned about adaptive (and maladaptive) states by examining how the expression of miRNAs is influenced by the genetic architecture of miR genes, clusters, and mirtrons, as well as miRNA polymorphism and polymorphism in their mRNA targets…Current efforts to leverage knowledge of this regulatory system to diagnose, track, and attenuate disease progression represent a major new research opportunity and challenge in this rapidly growing area of translational medicine."
The authors review how microRNAs can accelerate or suppress lung cancers and how this knowledge might serve as a basis for developing diagnostic markers or anti-cancer therapeutic agents.MicroRNA biomarkers in lung cancer: MiRacle or quagMiRe?
The authors review recent studies on the role of microRNAs in the pathogenesis of diabetes, including the role of several microRNAs in pancreatic beta cells and insulin-target tissues.
These articles appear in Translational Research, The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, Volume 157, Issue 4 (April 2011) entitled "MicroRNAs: A Potential New Frontier for Medicine," published by Elsevier.
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