Navigation Links
McGill team discovers a piece of the puzzle for individualized cancer therapy via gene silencing

This press release is available in French.

In a major cancer-research breakthrough, researchers at the McGill University, Department of Biochemistry have discovered that a small segment of a protein that interacts with RNA can control the normal expression of genes including those that are active in cancer.

The research, published online on May 26, 2010 by the prestigious journal Nature, has important immediate applications for laboratory research and is another step toward the kind of individualized cancer therapies researchers are pursuing vigorously around the world.

Human cells need to produce the correct proteins at the right time and in the appropriate quantities to stay healthy. One of the key means by which cells achieve this control is by "RNA interference", a form of gene silencing where small pieces of RNA, called micro RNAs, obstruct the production of specific proteins by interacting with their genetic code. However, not any piece of RNA can do this. Dr. Bhushan Nagar and graduate student Filipp Frank, in collaboration with Dr. Nahum Sonenberg at McGill's new Life Sciences Complex, used structural biology to unravel how a small segment in the Argonaute proteins, the key molecules of RNA interference, can select the correct micro RNAs.

In doing so, the team has discovered that Argonaute proteins can potentially be exploited to enhance gene silencing. "RNA interference could be used as a viable therapeutic approach for inhibiting specific genes that are aberrantly active in diseases such as cancer", Nagar said. "We now have a handle on being able to rationally modify micro RNAs to make them more efficient and possibly into therapeutic drugs."

While therapeutic applications are many years away, this new insight provides an avenue to specifically control the production of proteins, which in cancer cells for example, are abnormal.

"This is fantastic news," said Dr. David Thomas, Chair of McGill's Department of Biochemistry. "You've seen stories lately about how we may see the end of chemotherapy? Well, this is part of that path in developing genetically based therapies that can be tailored to individual patients' particular illnesses. It's a great step forward."


Contact: William Raillant-Clark
McGill University

Related biology news :

1. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
2. 12 McGill researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs
3. Type 1 diabetes triggered by lazy regulatory T-cells: McGill researchers
4. Tiny genetic differences have huge consequences: McGill researchers
5. Oceanographer Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr. receives 34th annual Rosenstiel Award
6. McGill conference on Global Food Crisis draws impressive list of international participants
7. Boost from McGill, Gates Foundation helps Africans control pharma research
8. Key to curing obesity may lie in worms that destroy their own fat: McGill researchers
9. MUHC and McGill scientists explain genetic disease first discovered in Quebec 24 years ago
10. Forget the antioxidants? McGill researchers cast doubt on role of free radicals in aging
11. Peptides-on-demand: McGill researchers radical new green chemistry makes the impossible possible
Post Your Comments:
(Date:8/23/2017)... , Aug. 23, 2017  The general public,s help is being ... microbiome—the bacteria that live in and on the human body –and are ... The Microbiome ... the human microbiome, starting with the gut. The project's goal is to ... Photo credit: IBM ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing ... event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, ... 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions ... various industries. France ... market, with a 30 percent increase in the number of ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At ... Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist ... has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of ... oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this ... communication among health care professionals to enhance the patient care ... staff, and other health care professionals to help women who ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking ... initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of a transformation to ... into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its service offering from ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt of a ... RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the first commercially ... microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. The NIH,s ... accelerate development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity of ... techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual cells ...
Breaking Biology Technology: