Yale Logo Cancer is known to cause distortion in the genes which seemingly affect the human body. Researchers from Yale University recently highlighted that cancer becomes independent due to a small gene that permits it to get accustomed and propagate.

Researchers examined an oncogene addiction within a tumor that apparently offers an innovative and essential therapeutic target with the ability to restrict the harmful disease. Researchers studied the action of a specific microRNA, a class of small RNAs that supposedly control the expression of genes.

“If we show that a cancer is addicted to a particular gene, it means that we have a prime target to attack and treat it with drugs,” commented Frank Slack, professor of molecular cellular and developmental biology and Director of the Cancer Genetics and Genomics Program at Yale Cancer Center.

The micro-RNA known as miR-21 was observed to be active in almost every form of cancer tested. However, researchers have not yet underlined its effect on living organisms. They observed that mice mainly bred to over express miR-21 were capable of developing a form of lymphoma.

“Our understanding of ‘oncogene addiction’ in cancer has major potential to change the way we target and treat cancer, with a new emphasis on targeting and inactivating microRNAs,” remarked Thomas J. Lynch, Jr., MD, Director of Yale Cancer Center and Physician-in-Chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

They further identified that when the gene was inactive in the mice, tumors entirely degenerated within days. These findings claim to be the first to reveal that cancer can be seemingly addicted to microRNAs and that their nonexistence may restrict cancer.

These findings were published in the August 8 online edition of the journal Nature.