[xinhua]Breakthrough discovery by Aussie, Chinese universities could lead to innovative approach to treating cancer

  • [2018-05-18]

    SYDNEY, May 18 (Xinhua) -- A joint study by the University of Newcastle in Australia and the University of Science and Technology of China could lead to an innovative new approach to treating cancer.

    While global research usually focuses on 2 percent of the human Genome, ignoring the non-functioning cancer cells, scientists involved in the collaborative project decided to investigate the noncoding genes known as ncRNA.

    It seems the unorthodox approach worked, with researchers identifying two unique pathways that could lead to the development of "new, more targeted cancer therapies."

    One of these ncRNA genes, named GUARDIN, is a molecule that helps to stabilize a particular protein involved in the DNA repair process.

    "We discovered the protective mechanisms of GUARDIN were twofold," lead Investigator Professor Xudong Zhang from the University of Newcastle said.

    "On one hand, it acts like a sponge to absorb harmful molecules, on the other, it functions like a bridge that brings two proteins together to protect the genome."

    Researchers found that reducing GUARDIN actually made cancer cells become more vulnerable to drug treatments.

    The second major breakthrough revealed that another ncRNA that regulates the metabolism of a cell, accelerated the metabolic activity of cancer cells.

    "While normal cells use up oxygen for energy, cancer cells use a process called glycolysis to produce energy", said co-author Dr. Rick Thorne, from the University of Newcastle.

    "At face value, glycolysis is not a particularly efficient way for cancer cells to make energy but there are other advantages, for example, producing building blocks that enable cell growth."

    "Like flicking a switch, we were encouraged that when we blocked this particular ncRNA, the cancer cell growth was also blocked and it began to revert to behave more like normal cells."


    xinhua, 2018-05-18, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/18/c_137189046.htm


This article came from News Center of USTC.