About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Previous Findings About MELK's Role in Cancer, Incorrect

by Anjali Aryamvally on February 13, 2018 at 12:30 PM
Font : A-A+

Previous Findings About MELK's Role in Cancer, Incorrect

About 10 years ago, several studies had discovered the overexpression of MELK gene in many cancer cell types and indicated the role of MELK in cancer and cancer therapy. Following this, multiple clinical trials were conducted to test whether drugs that inhibit MELK could treat cancer in patients. However, a new study by a research team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) led by CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer, report that MELK is not actually involved in cancer.

Furthermore, Sheltzer and his colleagues suggest that the discrepancy with previous findings results from inherent flaws in the scientific techniques that have been used to link MELK to cancer.

Advertisement


"Our study is a good illustration of the self-correcting nature of science," Sheltzer says.

Over the past few years, Sheltzer and Stony Brook University students Chris Giuliano and Ann Lin have been performing genomic analyses on tumors surgically removed from cancer patients. Their goal has been to identify genes whose activity levels are correlated with low patient survival rates. The researchers then planned to use a gene-editing technology called CRISPR to eliminate the genes from different cancer cell lines one at a time to see if they could kill the cells.
Advertisement

This is where MELK comes in. "Like other labs, we found that MELK tended to be very highly expressed in patients who did not survive very long," Sheltzer says.

Because so many previous studies using a variety of other methods had shown that MELK was essential for cancer cells, Sheltzer believed that his team could use the gene as a positive control in their CRISPR experiments. "We thought we would eliminate MELK and show that it killed cancer cells. Then we could know that our CRISPR techniques were working," Sheltzer says. "But, to our great surprise, the cancer cells didn't die. They just didn't care."

The researchers then performed several experiments to ensure the CRISPR technique was working. "We eventually had to conclude that our technique was fine," Sheltzer says. "Rather, it was the previous findings about MELK's role in cancer that were incorrect."

Sheltzer thinks some of the techniques have been prone to error due to what scientists call "off-target effects." One such technique, called RNA interference, harnesses a cellular mechanism controlling gene expression to switch off specific genes. "You think you're knocking down one gene, but in reality those techniques are not very specific, so you're also hitting a number of other different genes," Sheltzer says.

"We think that this might be a common problem," Sheltzer adds. "There are likely other genes like MELK out there and we're going to use CRISPR to find them."



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
New Guidelines for Use of Genetic Tests That Screen Multiple Cancer Genes: ASCO
Patients should be informed that the tests may uncover inherited cancer genes that can affect other ...
Novel Treatment Approach for Leukemia Renders Cancer Genes Powerless
Targeted epigenetic approach for the treatment of aggressive forms of leukemia has been developed .....
New Cancer Genes Predicted by Largest-Ever Map of the Human Interactome
The largest-scale map to date of direct interactions between proteins encoded by the human genome .....
Aspirin and Smoking Affects Ageing of Cancer Genes: Study
Aspirin reduces ageing of cancer genes, whereas smoking can accelerate the ageing of cancer genes, ....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use