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RNA Can Help Fight Cancer
March 16, 2011 19:19

Double-stranded RNA

Russian researchers have synthesized a 22-component RNA (ribonucleic acid), which demonstrated hampering of cancer cells’ growth and promoting synthesis of interferon, part of an immune system.

Interferon-based treating agents are known to stimulate functioning of an immune system, thus inhibiting growth of malignant tumors. Interferons are proteins, which interfere replication of viruses inside a cell. However, these agents should be taken by patients very carefully, since they can cause allergic reactions and inflammations. When you feel fever or muscle ache during a flu, for instance, these are cause by interferons working for your health. In order to prevent unpleasant side effects of interferon, medics try to avoid using it directly, but try to prescribe agents, stimulating its synthesis in a patient’s organism. Among other possible agents, which launch interferon production, Russian and foreign researchers have paid attention to double-stranded RNA, various sequences of which are currently being tested on cell cultures.

Russian biochemists from the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine (Siberian branch of Russian academy of sciences) have synthesized a biologically active RNA molecule, which consisted of twenty-two components. Mentioned molecule of ribonucleic acid had been tested on cell cultures of human epidermoid carcinoma and human embryo kidney. Experiments show that after the RNA molecule entered human epidermoid carcinoma cells, their division rate reduced several-fold (usually 3-3.5 times). As for control cells, which were healthy and didn’t belong to any tumor, their division rate has also reduced, but not that significantly – only 1.5 times. Control RNA, which had a slightly different sequence, than proclaimed tumor destroyer, didn’t have any effect on division rate of either healthy cells, or cells of human epidermoid carcinoma.



Scientists explain this phenomenon by interactions between a “healing” double-stranded RNA and an intracellular enzyme, known as double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase R. This enzyme is activated by a double-stranded RNA, which synthesis is usually linked with viruses. Protein kinase R protects mammalian organisms from viruses, which genome consists of double-stranded RNA, by means of blocking division of infected cells. When a “healing” double-stranded RNA enters a cell, the enzyme recognizes it as a virus, attacks it and prevents the cell from dividing.

The scientists have already studied the ability of this molecule to trigger interferon synthesis. After a culture of human macrophages was treated with a double-stranded RNA, they trebled the amount of synthesized interferon-α. Another advantage of this very molecule over other RNA-based treating agents is that it causes almost no inflammation. Authors of the study believe that this new RNA-based treating agent will be useful for fighting tumors.

Researchers have already patented their invention in Russia.



Source: Science & Technologies

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian medicine     

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