According to Neuroscience News, researchers at the Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, have discovered a potentially feasible way of turning cancer cells back into normal cells. Reportedly, a loss of adhesion proteins, "the glue that keeps cells together," can cause "aberrant cell growth." By restoring the missing proteins, experiments have shown that "in some aggressive types of cancer" the results have been "very promising."
That code was unraveled by the discovery that adhesion proteins — the glue that keeps cells together — interact with the microprocessor, a key player in the production of molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs). The miRNAs orchestrate whole cellular programs by simultaneously regulating expression of a group of genes. The investigators found that when normal cells come in contact with each other, a specific subset of miRNAs suppresses genes that promote cell growth. However, when adhesion is disrupted in cancer cells, these miRNAs are misregulated and cells grow out of control. The investigators showed, in laboratory experiments, that restoring the normal miRNA levels in cancer cells can reverse that aberrant cell growth.
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