Friday, November 21, 2014

Researchers Silence Leading Cancer-Causing Gene

News Brief by Kathryn Gibb

One of the most notable genes in cancer replication that has stumped researchers from trying to stop its role in cancer mutations may finally have met its match.  Researchers at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine have discovered a new way to attack the KRAS oncogene and prevent it from aiding cancer growth.  The KRAS gene, found in many cancers such as lung and pancreatic cancer, is damaged by the use of small interfering RNA (siRNA).  The siRNA is used to destroy the genetic messages of KRAS mRNA’s before they fully form.  This then prevents the message from spreading during the replication.  The KRAS gene is then unable to fully replicate, causing the cancer cells to die.  The research team at UNC’s School of Medicine found the sequence of siRNA, which destroyed the KRAS gene most efficiently and tested the sequence in mouse models of lung and colon cancer.   

The researchers found a 69% decrease in size of tumors in the cancer models with the use of the siRNA.  In addition, when they entered the sequences into tissue cells, the siRNA killed over 90% of the cancer mutating genes.  The research team notes that more research needs to be done because the siRNA sequences also are capable of killing the part of the non-mutant KRAS gene, which helps maintain healthy cell growth.  This discovery however is promising for fighting cancer reproduction.

University of North Carolina Health Care. "Researchers silence leading cancer-causing gene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2014. .

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