Scientists at the University of Granada, incollaboration with the universities of Harvard and Yale (United States) have provided new data for a better understanding of the alterations produced during the development of lung cancer, the tumour with the highest yearly death rate in Spain.
This research has found that certain small RNA molecules called microRNAs can deactivate the function of the SMARCA4 gene, which protects healthy cells from becoming tumour cells.
These findings, which were developed in pre-clinical models, constitute the foundation for the development of future applications for the diagnosis and prognostication of lung cancer.
"We had previously discovered that lung tumours in patients lost the activity of the SMARCA4 gene, which carries out tasks that protect normal cells from turning into tumour cells. This new research proves that this loss in the tumour-suppression activity of SMARCA4 could be attributed to the activity of certain microRNAs", says prof. Pedro P. Medina, the principal investigator in this project, and a researcher at the Molecular Biochemistry and Biology I Department at the University of Granada.
"This result has opened up a new research line in our lab, by means of which we aim to explore new therapeutic pathways based on the regulation conducted by microRNAs", he added.
The "Regulation of Genetic Expression and Cancer" research group is made up of young scientists recently established at the University of Granada, and it includes researchers from the Molecular Biochemistry and Biology I Department
This research has been led by prof. Pedro P. Medina, and its first authors are the University of Granada researchers Isabel Fernández and Eva Rufino, who are also members of the Molecular Biochemistry and Biology I Department. The team included researchers from the University of Valencia (Spain), the Bellvitge Institute of Biomedical Research at the University of Barcelona, as well as researchers from Yale and Harvard.
The article has been published recently in the prestigious journal Human Molecular Genetics, published by Oxford University Press, and which ranks at the top of international journals on genetics.