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Suppressing cancer with miR-34a

A team of researchers at Mirna Therapeutics Inc. has found that systemically delivered microRNA-34a blocks tumor growth in mouse models of lung cancer.1 The miRNA targets multiple pro-oncogenic pathways and could potentially show activity against a broad range of cancers. Mirna is optimizing the formulation and hopes to submit an IND in late 2011.

Over the past five years, multiple labs have reported associations between cancer cells and altered expression profiles of miRNA. Compared with healthy tissue, some tumors show overexpression of miRNAs, whereas other tumors show abnormal downregulation of one or more miRNAs.2,3

A prime example of the latter is miR-34a. Several labs have independently found low levels of miR-34a in a variety of solid tumors in mice and humans, suggesting that miR-34a functions as a tumor

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