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An Engineered DNA Molecule Can Track Down Cancer Cells in Body

Mar, 2021

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Researchers from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) claim to have developed a DNA that will target the IRF4 gene.

With some promising early testing, researchers from UCSD have found a method to eliminate the cancer stem cells. A cancer in blood cells known as Multiple Myeloma, produces anti-bodies that will eventually harm kidneys and bones along with its effect on the immune system. This Multiple Myeloma is an incurable cancer in which proliferation of bone marrow plasma cells gets out of control. But health of patients with this type of cancer usually deteriorates after treatment as multiple myeloma has the ability to produce new cancer cells when the older cells are destroyed in treatment.

Recent studies show that the excessiveness of a protein called IRF4 was related to minimal survival rates for myeloma patients as it aids swelling of myeloma stem cells in the body. IRF4 gene is found out to be the main carrier of various genes that control the survival of Multiple Myeloma, after activation of the mutation. To control the excess IRF4 gene in the body, researchers have developed a specific gene known as anti-sense oligonucleotide, which will eliminate myeloma stem cells along with other vicious plasma cells. An anti-sense oligonucleotide, particularly known as ION251, could be used to treat other common cancers and is expected to avoid relapse.

The team of researchers has carried out testing on a group of synthetic rats which had human myeloma cells planted in them. All the synthesized rats were given doses of oligonucleotide every day in first week and once in two days from the second week. After two weeks, the number of myeloma stem cells reduced significantly and more than 70% of the mice survived.

Human-testing is underway on Multiple Myeloma patients to determine the Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD) in extremely affected patients.

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