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 이성욱 ( 2011-09-08 16:54:06 , Hit : 4969
 Genetic circuit kills cancer cells using unique microRNAs


POSTED September 5, 2011 - 15:15 | POSTED BY Simmy Mishra Last edited by Jaspreet Virk on September 5, 2011 - 16:01
In what could be a breakthrough in fight against cancer, a group of scientists have proposed a bio-logical circuit designed made of genes to target specific cancer cells without affecting the healthy ones.

To create a vector that is capable of recognizing the cancerous cells and killing it post mark-up, a study led by Yaakov Benson and Laura Prochazka from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich), in a group effort with Zhen Xie and Liliana Wroblewska from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, proposes a logical circuit designed from the DNA that can force cells to commit suicide.

New technology implements a tumour killing program
The researchers have utilized the microRNA to design the circuit.

Cancer cells unlike other human cells have an abundance of certain RNAs and scarcity of others whereas regular healthy cells have 1000 different microRNAs.

The circuit uses this information as its key to distinguish the cancer cells from healthy ones and destroys them.

Experiment involving HeLa cells exhibits efficacy of circuit
The scientists experimented with cervical cancer cells, known as HeLa, for study in which they identified six different types of microRNAs, some of which were in plenty numbers in HeLa and some were in very low numbers.

The gene circuit produces a cell-death initiating protein upon the identification of the right type of microRNA in the right amount in a cell.

The gene is also programmed to shut down the protein production in case the microRNA levels do not match up in order to prevent healthy cells, non-HeLa, from dying.

For instance, if the synthetic gene come across a cell has high level of microRNA that is usually low in cancer cell HeLa, the gene will not produce the protein.

Lead researcher Benson explained, “The biocomputer combines the factors using logic operations such as AND and NOT, and only generates the required outcome, namely cell death, when the entire calculation with all the factors results in a logical TRUE value."

The team is now working in collaboration with chemical engineers from MIT, Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson, to create a precise DNA mechanism that will carry the circuit to the infected cells.








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