17 April 2019

Bait for cancer

Biologists have come up with a universal way to cheat cancer

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

Israeli scientists have presented a new strategy for fighting cancer based on RNA-binding proteins. The main advantage of the approach is that it can be used to fight various types of tumors.

Scientists from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have presented a new technology to prevent the development of cancer. The team has created special baits that deceive malignant cells, preventing them from growing. The method has already been patented, writes EurekAlert (Scientists get sly, use deception to fight cancer).

RNA-binding proteins play a key role in tumor growth. They are also active in other cells, but in malignant cells they bind to certain molecules, thereby accelerating the spread of cancer.

Scientists have created decoy molecules that fraudulently combine with proteins and inhibit them.


Figure from the article by Denichenko et al. Specific inhibition of splicing factor activity by decoy RNA oligonucleotides, published in the journal Nature Communications – VM.

Experiments on mice showed that the treatment of brain and breast tumors was effective. The cells of these tumors were pretreated with a drug, and then transplanted to rodents. Experience proved that malignant cells did not multiply, and tumors soon died off.

The technology makes it possible to adapt the method for many types of cancer, the authors emphasize. At the moment, this is the first experimental therapy that is aimed at RNA-binding proteins.

The team is currently conducting a series of animal experiments before the method is approved for human clinical trials.

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