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MicroRNA-218 targets medulloblastoma, most aggressive childhood brain cancer
Date:12/13/2012

the fact that the drug led to increased radiation sensitivity in cancer cells," Vibhakar says. "Because medulloblastoma is most common in children and because high doses of radiation in children can have adverse long-term side effects, the prospect of a drug that could reduce the intensity of the required radiation is very appealing."

For similar reasons, despite the finding of a druggable target, the group plans to continue its work with microRNA-218. Specifically, the microRNA seems involved in cancer cell migration and invasion because medulloblastoma is aggressively metastatic along the spinal cord, any advances in stopping the march of the disease from the brain could lead to major patient gains, especially in pediatric patients.

"Also interesting is the fact that studies of microRNA are leading us to genes implicated in cancer that we may not have discovered otherwise," Vibhakar says. In many ways this is the reverse of the traditional workflow in discovering a druggable target. Usually, a researcher would explore for genetic abnormalities and then if needed search inside the gene's signaling chain for a way to turn it on or off. With microRNA, researchers look first for abnormalities in the signaling chain, and then work higher in the system to discover the associated genetic abnormalities and their functions.

Because many of the pathways affected by microRNA-218 are common across many types of cancer, the findings may have implications far beyond medulloblastoma.


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Contact: Garth Sundem
garth.sundem@ucdenver.edu
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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