New Development of MicroRNa in Cancer Treatments

Researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have reported of discovering a new role of microRNA in cancer treatment. The results of their study were published in the January 2011 online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

What Research Learnt About MicroRNA in Cancer Treatment?

  • MiR-34 a, a new RNA molecule is believed to be a novel therapeutic option for prostate cancer in men.
  • These molecules play a vital role in the regulation of the gene messengers to produce proteins.
  • The researchers found that these protein molecules worked in stopping the spreading of prostate cancer to other parts of the body by suppressing another protein CD44 found on the surface of the rogue cells.
  • In prostate cancer cells without CD44, the levels of the miR-34a were found to be around 25-70 percent.
  • The size of the prostate tumor reduced by 33-50 percent in mice which were given these RNA drugs in comparison to the group without any treatment.
  • The incidence of the tumor and its regeneration reduced greatly when these drugs were given to the CD44 prostate cancer cells.
  • When miR-34a protein was produced in excess, it resulted in other beneficial effects like suppression of the ability of these cells for clonal growth and formation of spheres.
  • The mortality of the mice suffering from prostate cancer increased after this treatment as the spreading of the ailment to the most common site the lungs was inhibited by this drug.
  • The research revealed that an inverse relationship exists between the levels of CD44 protein and miR-34a in the prostate cancer cell tumors.


It is not easy to deliver the drugs of microRNA in cancer treatment. But, there are several pharmaceutical companies which have taken up the challenge of producing these drugs in large number so as to advance the benefits of them from clinical studies to regular administration in the hospitals.

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