Dupling cancer cells

duping cancer cells

While radiation kills cancer cells by inducing DNA damage, some cancer cells evade death by self-repair.

Emory researchers have found that if they can sneak RNA molecules into cancer cells, the damaged DNA cannot repair itself.

The method could allow oncologists to enhance the tumor-killing effects of radiation, says Ya Wang, director of Experimental Radiation Oncology at Emory's Winship Cancer Institute. She and her team used modified lentiviruses to push RNA molecules into cancer cells in the laboratory. Her team is now testing whether a small peptide tag can direct RNA to brain tumors.

Previous RNA interference techniques to silence a gene targeted only the coding region, which makes RNA unstable. Wang’s team targeted both the coding region and the noncoding region, which blocks protein production. This method made brain cancer and lung cancer cells two to three times more sensitive to X-ray radiation.

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