New Delhi, October 23
Chemotherapy is one of the most effective ways to treat cancer today. However, chemotherapy attacks cancer cells along with other normal cells in the body, making a cancer patient’s condition worse for a few days.
Indian researchers have now discovered a technique whose therapy will only attack cancer cells and will not damage the rest of the cells in the body.
The microRNA developed by researchers at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) specifically kills cervical cancer cells. Currently available treatments for cervical cancer are chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but it also has an effect on non-cancerous cells, which is quite harmful and toxic.
The results of the study could pave the way for the development of a microRNA therapy that is not harmful for the treatment of cervical cancer in the future.
This microRNA was discovered by a team of BHU researchers led by Samarendra Kumar Singh, Assistant Professor, School of Biotechnology, Institute of Science, BHU. During the study, Singh and his doctoral student Garima Singh demonstrated that a human microRNA, miR-34a, kills the viral gene E6, which in turn shuts down an oncogenic cell cycle factor, and does not kill than cervical cancer cells.
This discovery is of the utmost importance in the context of the development of a safe and specific therapy in the management of cervical cancer. During the study, the researchers found that no adverse effects were observed on normal or non-cancerous cells.
Once completed, this study could be important for the development of specific treatments for cervical cancer. The study results were published in BMC Cancer, one of the most prestigious journals in the field of cancer. This is the first study to show that miR-34a suppresses cancer cells by regulating the cell cycle.
High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is a factor in 99% of cervical cancer cases by impairing multiple tumor suppressors and host cell control factors. The viral protein also stabilizes several oncogenic factors, including an essential cell cycle regulator Cdt2/DTL which in turn promotes cell transformation and proliferation.
Samarendra Singh said: “MicroRNAs have become an important regulator of the cell cycle and various other cellular processes. Adverse changes in microRNAs have been linked to the development of many cancers and other diseases, but much is still known little about the mechanism by which they control these cellular events.” He added: “We reported that the discovered microRNA destabilizes certain proteins and plays a role in inhibiting the growth of infected cervical cancer cells, leading to cell proliferation, invasion and migration. HPV-positive cervical cancer cells and helps control it. Singh’s lab conducts research in the area of cancer, particularly cervical and gastrointestinal cancers. To carry out their studies, they use a variety of tools from molecular biology, biochemistry and structural biology and seek to study why and how cell cycle behavior is deregulated in cancer cells.
His lab had previously made an important discovery for cancer diagnosis by evaluating the amount of tumor DNA in the serum of cervical cancer patients, which was published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics. (JCRT), a prestigious journal in the field of cancer.