In Brief: Guiding cancer cells to their fate

Nov 26, 2010

It is often said that the best way to spur change is to work within the system. Here, researchers create control devices based on RNA, which can be used to synthetically rewire cellular behavior, making the cells more sensitive to a drug that causes cell death.

The work highlights the promise of RNA as a platform for engineering synthetic systems to control gene expression and the use of such techniques to treat disease; in particular the possibility of using to program cancerous or diseased cells toward death.

Stephanie Culler and colleagues used short segments of RNA to create programmable control devices that, when triggered by the presence of certain proteins, rewired pathways and changed the behavior of human cells.

In the experiment, the researchers linked stimulation of a key signaling pathway to the expression of a gene that confers sensitivity to the drug ganciclovir, which induces programmed .

Their RNA control device rewired the pathway and prompted cells to detect a cancer-associated marker and activate production of a that sensitizes them to an anti-cancer drug.

The results show that this RNA device can be used to reroute cell signaling pathways and guide cells to a particular fate.

A related Perspective discusses the implications of this work on creating a single framework for building synthetic gene regulation systems.

Explore further: Increased risk for head, neck cancers in patients with diabetes

More information: "Reprogramming Cellular Behavior with RNA Controllers Responsive to Endogenous Proteins," by S.J. Culler et al, Science, November 26, 2010. www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6008/1251.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Newly discovered gene plays vital role in cancer

Feb 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Gene p53 protects against cancer and is usually described as the most important gene in cancer research. However, scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have now shown that a previously ...

'Quiet revolution' may herald new RNA therapeutics

Jan 21, 2007

Scientists at the University of Oxford have identified a surprising way of switching off a gene involved in cell division. The mechanism involves a form of RNA, a chemical found in cell nuclei, whose role was previously unknown, ...

Novel laboratory technique nudges genes into activity

Jan 29, 2007

A new technique that employs RNA, a tiny chemical cousin of DNA, to turn on genes could lead to therapeutics for conditions in which nudging a gene awake would help alleviate disease, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical ...

Researchers discover how microRNAs control protein synthesis

Jul 09, 2007

While most RNAs work to create, package, and transfer proteins as determined by the cell’s immediate needs, miniature pieces of RNA, called microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression. Recently, researchers from the University ...

Drug kills prostate tumor cells

Aug 11, 2006

U.S. scientists have developed an experimental RNA-based drug -- the first of its kind -- that kills prostate cancer cells, without harming normal cells.

Recommended for you

Incomplete HPV vaccination may offer some protection

8 hours ago

Minority women who received the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) even after becoming sexually active had lower rates of abnormal Pap test results than those who were never vaccinated. These findings appear in the journal ...

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut

8 hours ago

A multi-institutional team of researchers has developed a new nanoscale agent for imaging the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This safe, noninvasive method for assessing the function and properties of the GI tract in real time ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

junkd
not rated yet Nov 29, 2010
Reliable supplier, rapid delivery, guarantee!
http://star-of-he..._id=5831