Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in men, and lung and breast cancer combined are the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. Therefore, early detection and treatment of these cancers is of utmost importance in increasing survival. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of short endogenous RNAs that act as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression by base-pairing with their target mRNAs. Perturbed miRNA expression patterns have been reported in many human cancers.
By comparing cancerous and healthy tissue samples, Dartmouth scientists have now demonstrated spatial distribution and differential expression of miRNAs within epithelial structures of breast and lung tissues. This analysis indicated that hsa-miR-451, hsa-miR-143 and hsa-miR-145 are downregulated, and hsa-miR-141, hsa-miR-200b, hsa-miR-200c, hsa-miR-221, hsa-miR-222 and hsa-miR-21 are upregulated in breast tumors compared to normal breast tissue. Moreover, hsa-miR-34b, hsa-miR-34c, hsa-miR-142-3p, hsa-miR-142-5p, hsa-miR-486, hsa-miR-451, hsa-miR-145, hsa-miR-144 and hsa-miR-150 are downregulated in lung tumors, whereas hsa-miR-31, hsa-miR-127, hsa-miR-141, hsa-miR-136 and hsa-miR-376a are upregulated in lung tumors compared to healthy lung tissue. These miRNA can now be used in detecting, classifying, diagnosing and enabling a prognosis of breast and lung cancer.
These findings are claimed in published United States Patent Application No. 12/436,576, and the Issued United States Patent No. 7,955,848. We are seeking an industrial partner to further refine and market this technology. (Refs: J520; J389)
Last Updated: 7/24/12