DAVID GRANOVSKY

New Advances In Cancer Treatment Revealed | News Fire

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on August 9, 2010 at 12:35 am

New Advances In Cancer Treatment Revealed

Writer: Robert Valenzuela on Aug 8 2010.

MicroRNA molecule increases number of blood stem cells and may help improve cancer treatment.

There’s a new means by which the number of hematopoietic stem cells can be manipulated, cells which produce blood and immune system cells, according to the researchers who made the identification.

In an online report from the Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute recognize a minute RNA molecule that boosts the amount of these blood stem cells, in a move that may lead to the upgrading of blood system cancer therapies.

“This novel molecule raises blood stem cell numbers by suppressing the normal cell-death process,” explains David Scadden, MD, director of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and senior author of the report. “We’ve known that these non-coding RNAs can define what an immature cell will become, but none has previously been identified that can tell a blood system stem cell whether to live or die.”

Short strands of RNA not engaged in the making of proteins, called MicroRNAs, have the ability to connect and shut the expression of the genes in question and have a valuable part in cell growth and differentiation, together with the procedure involving the maturity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into white blood cells. T

he processes by which the sizes of the population of HSC are controlled are still unidentified and researchers are trying to find out if microRNAs have something to do with it. And having discovered that in the absence of the enzyme DICER, an essential part in making microRNAs, will cause the death of HSCs, the involvement of microRNA in supporting HSC levels has come to light.

Follow up research has confirmed the presence of a group of microRNA at the increased levels in HSCs and revealed that one of them is miRNA, which raised the volume of HSCs by shielding them from the developments that causes cell death responsible for containing the number of cells. It is only at the stem cell-level that the ability of the miRNA to protect HSCs is manifested and this may have something to do with protein Bak1, a cell-death.

Researchers at California Institute of Technology, in a similar PNAS study, also released online, discovered that increased level of similar molecules known as miRNA-125B in HSCs could cause leukemia in mice, the aggressive type.

“These molecules modify cellular numbers in ways that can be both beneficial and detrimental, so it will be important to understand the differences,” Scadden explains.

“We’re now looking at ways to expand the stem cell population – to briefly turn on the anti-cell-death protection – to overcome limited levels of stem cells that can restrict the use of stem cell transplantation for patients with blood system failure and blood-cell cancers. Accomplishing that could make life-saving stem cell transplants available to more patients,” he adds.

Scadden is the Gerald and Darlene Jordan Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

via New Advances In Cancer Treatment Revealed | News Fire.

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