WHY MICRO RNA?
ANCHOR LEAD: MICRO RNAS ARE COMING TO THE FORE IN CANCER RESEARCH AS WELL AS OTHER CONDITIONS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Hiding in plain sight. That phrase could be used to describe a class of nucleic acid molecules called micro RNAs, known for some time to exist in cells but whose role was not appreciated until recently. Josh Mendell, a genetic medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, describes what microRNAs do.
MMENDELL: The ability of these microRNAs to regulate many, many genes, so a single microRNA, which is a tiny RNA, can regulate hundreds of other genes. So they can have very powerful effects when we put them into cells, that’s related to the very important effects they have in normal physiology and development, but it’s also related to their abnormalities in disease. When a microRNA is changed in a diseased cell it can have profound effects on the behavior of the cell. :27
Mendell has recently used a single microRNA to bring liver cancer under control in a model of the disease. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.