New study shows how to reprogram cancer cells back to normal

Viotox reports on a study published in Nature Cell Biology in which researchers detailed a way to reprogram cancer cells back to normal, opening the door to new treatments for cancer.

cancer cells
Viotox reports researchers found that when they restored normal miRNA signals in cancer cells, they could reverse the process that makes cells grow uncontrollably.
Cancer is like a complex software program of life that has got out of control; instead of the code for normal cells, a code for making abnormal cells is executed. Now, a new study in Nature Cell Biology suggests there may be a way to change the code so that cancer cells revert back to normal cells.

The study shows that when normal cells come together, a specific group of miRNAs suppresses genes that encourage cell growth. But, for some reason, this is disrupted in tumor cells, and growth becomes uncontrolled – the hallmark of cancer.

The researchers found when they restored normal miRNA signals in cancer cells, they could reverse the process and control growth.

MicroRNA and Cancer

MicroRNAs or miRNAs represent an important class of small regulatory RNAs that are intrinsic to post-transcriptional gene control. They are approximately 22 nucleotides in length and regulate the expression of as much as 30% of all mammalian protein-encoding genes.

Experimental approaches have shown that some miRNAs act as tumor suppressors, and other ones as oncogenes; hence they have important roles in cancer development, progression of the disease and its prognosis. Dysregulation of miRNAs is linked to the development of cancer.