Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researcher Discovers Inhibitor of Gene Regulator

26.09.2008
A North Carolina State University chemist has discovered a molecule that can potentially stop the production of cancer cells at the very beginning of the process by switching off the gene regulators responsible for turning healthy cells into cancer cells. The discovery could lead to the development of drugs that can treat some of the deadliest forms of cancer, including brain cancer.

Dr. Alex Deiters, assistant professor of chemistry at NC State, and colleagues at the Wistar Institute of Philadelphia believed that genetic regulators known as microRNAs would be an excellent target for cancer therapies, based on their importance in the process of "programming" a gene, also known as gene regulation.

MicroRNAs, or miRNAs, are small, single-stranded molecules of about 20 nucleotides - like miniature strands of DNA - that reside in every cell in the human body. These molecules are involved in more than 30 percent of all gene regulatory processes, and direct the translation of genes. When miRNAs are misregulated - either overrepresented or underrepresented - particular genes can be over or under expressed, and cancer can be the result.

The researchers targeted a particular microRNA, called miRNA-21, linked to cancers such as glioblastoma, an aggressive, hard-to-treat form of cancer which is responsible for 52 percent of all brain tumors. MiRNA-21 is responsible for the cancer cells' rapid growth, because it prevents the cancer cells from undergoing apoptosis, or cell death. By stopping the production of miRNA-21, the researchers hoped, they would induce cell death in the glioblastoma cells.

Deiters and colleagues tested more than 1,200 separate compounds before finally coming up with a molecule that decreased miRNA-21 levels by 80 percent. Not only did the compound work to decrease the level of miRNA-21, it presumably worked by inhibiting the transcription of the miRNA itself, without affecting any other miRNAs. While the compound doesn't destroy glioblastoma cells outright, decreasing the level of miRNA-21 removes the cells' anti-apoptotic factor, potentially making them more susceptible to traditional cancer therapy.

The results appear online in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

"Essentially we have discovered the first small molecule that inhibits miRNA function. Moreover, our inhibitor of miRNA-21 is specific to that particular miRNA and disrupts the transcription of that specific miRNA" Deiters says.

"The work represents a real paradigm change in the way we approach cancer drug discovery."

Note to Editors: An abstract of the paper follows

"Small-Molecule Inhibitors of MicroRNA miR-21 Function"

Authors: Dr. Alexander Deiters, North Carolina State University, Dr. Qihong Huang, Wistar Institute

Published: online in Angewandte Chemie

Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently emerged as an important class of gene regulators, and their misregulation has been linked to a variety of cancers. Small-molecule inhibitors of miRNAs would be important tools for the elucidation of the detailed mechanisms of miRNA function and should serve as lead structures for the development of new therapeutic agents. We report a cellular screen for miRNA-pathway inhibitors and the first small-molecule modifiers of miRNA function.

Tracey Peake | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

nachricht New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>