Giving hope to thousands of patients worldwide, a key discovery involving a tiny microRNA molecule shows that it could ward off prostate cancer.
Researchers found that many prostate cancer cells contain less of microRNA molecules, spurring their rapid growth. MicroRNAs are small and, unlike double-stranded DNA, consist of a single strand of nucleotides, encoded in plant and animal genome.
Keith Giles and Michael Epis from Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) Lab for Hormone Dependent Cancer, headed by Peter Leedman, spent several years investigating the role of a microRNA in prostate cancer, the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports.
"We've now confirmed that many prostate cancers contain less of this microRNA molecule, and we have some understanding of how this might occur," explained Giles, according to a WAIMR statement.
"Our research suggests that this microRNA normally works as a brake on prostate cell growth, so perhaps if we can put it back into prostate cancer cells then we can restore that brake," Giles said.