Oncologists at the University of Cincinnati (UC), have discovered a signal path in the micro-RNA MIR-22 compound that helps cure acute myeloid leukemia – the most common type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The results of this research were published on April 26 in the new issue of the journal “Nature Communications”.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) – is the most common type of acute leukemia which occurs when the bone marrow begins to create blasts of genetic changes which “freeze” cells in an immature state. These malignancies usually provoke a proliferation of altered white blood cells. Accumulating in the bone marrow, they inhibit the growth of normal blood cells, leading to a reduction in the number of red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells. The disease manifests itself in rapid fatigue, shortness of breath, frequent minor skin lesions, increased bleeding, and frequent infected lesions.
Associate professor of cancer biology at UC College of Medicine and lead study author Jianjun Chen said micro-RNAs play a key role in cancer development.
“Micro-RNAs constitute a class of small non-coding cells inside RNA that control the genes – enhance their activity, or inhibit (suppress) and minimize their functions. Thus cellular mRNA are organisms used to transfer genetic information,” Chen said.
Previous studies have shown that miR-22 is associated with breast cancer and blood diseases that sometimes precede leukemia. However Chen’s team in the study found that this molecule can be a powerful anticancer tool. If it intensifies the activity of the gene responsible for synthesis of miR-22, the leukemia cells begin to experience difficulties in development, growth and reproduction. This type of microRNA inhibits the function of certain genes associated with cancer (crtc1, FLT3 and MYCBP) and blocks metabolic pathways that contribute to the disease.
The development of leukemia is caused by the loss of DNA responsible for the synthesis of miR-22. As the scientists discovered in experiments with mice, it can be stopped if you insert into the bone marrow cells with nanoparticle DNA oligonucleotides (nucleic acid molecules) that carry miRNAs.
“Typically, most patients with acute myeloid leukemia live not longer than five years, even with the use of chemotherapy. Therefore, the development of new effective treatments for cancer based on the basic mechanisms of the disease is necessary,” the researchers concluded.
Original article here.
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