Monday, August 7, 2000
In certain cancers, chromosomal translocations create chimeric
oncogenes where the hybrid mRNA is derived from two useful endogenous genes.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have published the development of a
dimeric ribozyme, called a maxizyme, that is able to target such chimeric genes
without disrupting normal gene function.
While ribozymes target and inactivate specific mRNAs, their
clinical usefulness so far has been limited to target genes that have no beneficial
endogenous function - for example, to treat infectious diseases or inhibit angiogenesis
(which in adults occurs mostly in pathological situations such as cancer). However,
conventional ribozymes are unable to target chimeric