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Breakthrough finds molecules that block previously ‘undruggable’ protein tied to cancer

The findings, which could lead to a new class of cancer drugs, appear in the current issue of ACS Chemical Biology. “These are the first reported small-molecule HuR inhibitors that competitively disrupt HuR-RNA binding and release the RNA, thus blocking HuR function as a tumor-promoting protein,” said Liang Xu, associate professor of molecular biosciences and corresponding author of the paper. The results hold promise for treating a broad array of cancers in people. The researcher said HuR has been detected at high levels in almost every type of cancer tested, including cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, brain, ovaries, pancreas and lung…

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New approach to treat drug-resistant HER2–positive breast cancer

The discovery, published in the journal CELL Reports, provides the experimental evidence for the potential development of a novel combination therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer. The combination includes the FDA approved drug lapatinib and a new experimental drug called a BET bromodomain inhibitor, which works by disrupting the expression of specific genes…

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Hot on the trail of hepatitis-liver cancer connection

For the study, which was published in Nature Communications, the group performed whole genomic sequencing on 30 individual tumors classified as liver cancer displaying a biliary phenotype. This type of cancer originates in the liver, but is different from hepatocellular carcinoma, the dominant form of primary liver cancer, and is generally more aggressive, with poorer prognosis. …

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Lung Cancer: New Genetic Anomalies Discovered

By analyzing the DNA and RNA of lung cancers, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that patients whose tumors contained a large number of gene fusions had worse outcomes than patients with fewer gene fusions. Gene fusions are a type of genetic anomaly found in cancers that occurs when genes get rearranged and fuse together. In addition, the researchers identified several new genetic anomalies that occur in lung cancer, including in patients with a history of smoking. …

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Proteins drive cancer cells to change states

Biologists have previously found that this kind of transformation, which often occurs in cancer cells as well as during embryonic development, is controlled by transcription factors — proteins that turn genes on and off. However, the new MIT research reveals that RNA-binding proteins also play an important role. Human cells have about 500 different RNA-binding proteins, which influence gene expression by regulating messenger RNA, the molecule that carries DNA’s instructions to the rest of the cell. “Recent discoveries show that there’s a lot of RNA-processing that happens in human cells and mammalian cells in general,” says Yarden Katz, a recent MIT PhD recipient and one of the lead authors of the new paper…

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Long noncoding RNAs: Novel prognostic marker in older patients with acute leukemia

The researchers investigated patterns of molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), a class of RNA molecules more than 200 nucleotide units long that are involved in regulating genes. The researchers examined the abundance, or expression, of lncRNAs in patients who were 60 years and older and who had cytogenetically normal (CN) AML. The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…

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Circulating RNA may provide prognostic tool for multiple myeloma

The findings — to be presented in poster form on December 6, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, in the West Building, Level 1 — may ultimately guide doctors in deciding which therapies are best for individual patients with myeloma, the study authors say. The study focused on exosomes, tiny sacs that cells release into the bloodstream as a way of communicating with other cells. The exosomes contain microRNA molecules, fragments of RNA that help control the activity of genes…

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