New Compound Induces Death of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells in Mice, Spares Healthy Cells

New Compound Induces Death of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells in Mice, Spares Healthy Cells
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) developed a compound to target a specific microRNA — miR-96 — that was seen to selectively decrease the growth of triple-negative breast cancer in mice. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in the study "Design of a small molecule against an oncogenic noncoding RNA". MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that inhibit protein production from specific genes by binding to their intermediate RNA molecules and inducing their degradation. A number of microRNAs have been associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer. The target of this study, miR-96, has been shown to promote cancer progression by decreasing cancer cell death. Researchers used a computational approach, named Informa, to design and develop small molecules that target loops in the RNA, which are very common in microRNA precursors. A precise combination of these molecules generated a compound, which the authors named Targaprimir-96, that specifically targeted the microRNA-96 in breast cancer cells, leading to programmed cell death. “This is the first example of taking a genetic sequence and designing a drug candidate that works effectively in an animal model against triple negative breast cancer,” Matthew Disney, the study's senior author and a professor of chemistry at TSRI, said in a press release. “The study represents a clear breakthrough in precision medicine, as this molecule only kills the
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