Microcosmos of Cancer: A Mini Review

by Doug Dluzen on February 21, 2012

in News, Publications

In this week’s issue of Nature , two researchers at the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have published a review discussing the diverse contribution microRNA networks exhibit in cancer biology. Lujambio et. al. discuss both the oncogenic and tumor-suppressor roles microRNA have been attributed in the initiation and progression of multiple cancers. Discussion also focuses on microRNA as a driving/initiation factor in tumor biology and provides a thorough review of the dynamic between several microRNA genes and the TP53 tumor suppressor. The mouse model system is highlighted as a very useful tool validating and investigating the in vivo role specific microRNA contribute to tumor development and risk. The review concludes with a discussion concerning the potential roles of RNAi technology and its use as a therapeutic tool in cancer treatment.

miRNA and cancer mini review

The authors present insights into several areas of microRNA cancer research that requires further investigation in the near future, including: the impact of expression variation of several components of the microRNA biogenesis machinery, the direct role of microRNA epigenetic regulation of chromosomal DNA, and designing effective and safe microRNA drug-delivery systems. These three areas are highlighted by the authors as important steps into elucidating the total impact and use of microRNA biology in cancer development and treatment. Undoubtedly, further research in these areas will greatly enhance what is already know about microRNA regulation in cancer biology and may provide novel avenues for drug therapies.

Lujambio, A. and S.W. Lowe, The microcosmos of cancer.
Nature. 482(7385): p. 347-55.


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DR TUSHAR KANTI NAYAK May 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

The volume of research that has taken place during the last three decades in molecular biology and its application in the fields of genetics, medicine, and other areas of life sciences is perhaps unprecedented and overwhelming. The human genome has successfully been sequenced. Since last 30 years pople have been dreaming about getting the benefits of ‘gene therapy’. Every time a Nobel Prize was given during the last couple of years and the areas of research for which the Award has been given is highlighted, people around the world look forward with great hope to receive some important benefits from this work. However it has been very disappointing that this is not really happening. The treatment for genetic diseases (many of them are inborn errors in metabolism), many different types of cancer, autoimmune disorders, remain untreatable, also not preventable. There are reports indicating that most of the anti-microbial agents that are in use now might become ineffective during the next two to three decades due to development of resistance by the microbial agents which are showing sensitivity to these agents now. For several important diseases such as malaria and many viral diseases, vaccines have not been developed; the morbidity and mortality rates with these diseases are also remaining high. There has been a general perception that a lot of hype is being generated with certain research results deliberately by the scientific community, which no doubt is undesirable and premature. Any research work utilises a huge amount of intellectual work, thus the time of scientists besides huge sum of public money. Therefore it is important on the part of the scientific community to concentrate in research to addressing issues which are of real concern to the human race.

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