Our cells naturally produce small molecules called miRNAs. Some microRNAs act as natural tumor suppressors–that is, they regulate cell functions like growth and migration, keeping them in check. In tumors, these suppressive microRNAs often disappear–leading to the aggressiveness of cancer.
The idea behind miRNA replacement is therefore to introduce the missing molecules into the tumor cells, restoring cellular functions, and re-establishing the dynamic balance of the cells.
We have identified miR-198, a specific miRNA molecule that acts as a central tumor suppressor in several cancers. Under normal cell conditions, miR-198 works as part of a molecular on/off switch that regulates cell growth and wound healing. In most tumors miR-198 is depleted, which allows the cells to grow rapidly and migrate aggressively, leading to unchecked cancer growth.
Our mission, therefore, is to synthesize different miRNAs, like miR-198, in the laboratory, and introduce them into tumor cells where they are missing in order to stop cancer in its tracks.