microRNA-miR-155

Context

  • Recently, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have identified a specific microRNA (miRNA) called ‘miR-155’ that is over-expressed in tongue cancer.

About the Research

  • The finding could help develop molecular strategies to manipulate miR-155 expression to develop therapeutics for tongue cancer.
  • miRNA manipulation is being combined with conventional cancer treatment methods such as chemotherapy, radio therapy and immuno therapy.
  • Eliminating miR-155 causes death of cancer cells, arrests the cell cycle and regresses tumour size in animal models and reduces cell viability and colony formation in benchtop (suitable for convenient use on a laboratory workbench) assays.

MicroRNAs:

  • These are short non‐coding Ribonucleic Acids (RNAs) containing 20–24 nucleotides that participate in virtually all biological pathways in animals.
  • They play important roles in many cancers, in carcino genesismalignant transformation and metastasis.

Oncomirs:

  • The miRNAs associated with cancer are called Oncomirs.
  • They affect cancer growth through inhibiting or enhancing the functions of certain proteins.
  • Oncomirs affect cancer by suppressing the performance of tumour-suppressing agents which can prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells and sometimes prevent tumour growth itself.