Cells of our body regularly die and are replaced by new ones. The mechanism of” planned ” cell death is called apoptosis and is a normal physiological process. But what is characteristic of normal cells is absent in cancer cells. They simply lost this function. But what if we could make tumor cells “remember” this mechanism? Researchers from the US say that this is possible. They even confirmed it in a series of experiments.
According to new research, micro-RNA can be used to send cancer cells “a message of self-destruction that they cannot ignore.” We wrote that earlier this year, researchers at northwestern University (located in the Chicago suburb of Evanston) described a mechanism by which every cell in the body can be programmed to break down. Now, the same research team reported that they were able to finally crack the “code” needed to run this sequence and even confirm this data during the experiments.
As the authors report in their new study, ribonucleic acid (RNA) and specific micro-RNA send indications of cell death. And the code itself consists of six nucleotides of small interfering RNA (siRNA). Getting just six of these nucleotides causes irreversible changes in the cell, similar to those that occur when exposed to chemotherapy drugs. During laboratory tests on tumor cells, it was found that the code simultaneously destroys several genes necessary for cells to survive, so the cancer is not able to develop resistance. In addition, this approach practically does not affect healthy tissues, and therefore the number of complications will be minimal.
“Now that we know exactly the ‘killing code’, we can start the mechanism without resorting to chemotherapy. We can use these micro-RNAS directly, inject them into the cells and trigger a “switch” that causes tumor death.”- said the lead author of Professor Marcus Peter.