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VARANASI : A team of BHU researchers led by Dr. Samarendra Kumar Singh, Assistant Professor, School of Biotechnology, Institute of Science, has discovered a Micro RNA which specifically kills cervical cancer cells. The findings of the study could in future be developed into a Micro RNA therapy to cure cervical cancer, which is also innocuous.

During the study the research team comprising Dr. Samarendra Singh and his Ph.D. scholar Ms. Garima Singh, showed that a human micro-RNA – miR-34a could suppress viral E6 gene which in turn switches off an oncogenic cell cycle factor killing only cervical cancerous cells. The finding assumes significance in terms of developing a safer and specific therapy in management of cervical cancer. In the course of the study the researchers noted that no worse effect was observed on normal or non-cancerous cells. Currently the available cures for cervical cancers that are Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, do have an impact on non-cancerous cells too, which is significantly harmful and toxic.  This study upon completion could be important towards developing specific curing therapy for cervical cancers. The findings of the study have been published in BMC Cancer, one of the most prestigious journals in the field of cancer. This also happens to be the first-ever work to show that miR-34a suppresses cancer cells by regulating cell cycle.

High risk human papilloma virus (HR HPV) is the causative agent of 99% of cervical cancer cases which weakens the multiple tumor suppressors and checkpoint factors of the host cell. The viral proteins also stabilize many oncogenic factors, including an essential cell cycle regulator Cdt2/DTL which in turn promotes cell transformation and proliferation.

Dr. Samarendra Singh said, “MicroRNAs have emerged as an important regulator of cell cycle and various other cellular processes. Aberration in microRNAs has been linked with development of several cancers and other diseases, but still very little is known about the mechanism by which they regulate these cellular events”. “We have reported that the discovered micro-RNA destabilizes oncogenic proteins suppressing the growth of infected cervical cancer cell lines, that as a result help in containing cell proliferation, invasion and migration capabilities of the HPV positive cervical cancer cells”, he added.

Dr. Samarendra Kumar Singh’s lab conducts research in the field of cancer, especially cervical and gastrointestinal cancers. To execute their studies, they use various molecular biology, biochemistry and structural biology tools. They try to investigate why and how cell cycle behavior in cancer cells is mis-regulated. Their lab earlier found a way to diagnose cancer by evaluating load of tumor DNA in serum of cervical cancer patients which was published in a very reputed journal of cancer called JCRT.

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