Rosetta Genomics Initiates In Vivo Studies
In Vivo Studies
Rosetta Genomics initiates in vivo studies in its microRNA-based liver cancer therapeutic program conducted in collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals. The project, combining Isis's extensive know how and IP in antisense chemistry and Rosetta Genomics' know how and proprietary microRNA platform technologies, is the companies' leading attempt at harnessing microRNAs' role as master switches of the human body to develop a treatment for cancer.
Out of hundreds of potential microRNAs screened and tested, eight have been identified to lead to a decrease in liver cancer cell growth when inhibited. These microRNAs will be further tested during the in vivo studies.
Liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in men and the tenth most common in women, according to the National Cancer Institute. Approximately 20,000 people will die this year of liver cancer in the US alone.
"Rosetta and Isis decided two years ago to focus on developing a microRNA-based drug for this deadly cancer," noted Amir Avniel, CEO and President of Rosetta Genomics. "We are proud to present these results, demonstrating that microRNAs play a key role in liver cancer, and that targeting them in vitro leads to a decrease in cancer cell growth. We look forward to starting the in vivo studies."
Data on this program was presented by the two companies at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference; "The Role of Non-Coding RNAs in Cancer", held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Nov. 2. Slides of the presentation are available for viewing on Rosetta's web site under the Events Calendar link on the homepage.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are recently discovered, naturally occurring small RNAs that act as protein regulators and have the potential to form the basis for a new class of diagnostics and therapeutics. Since many diseases are caused by the abnormal activity of proteins, the ability to selectively regulate protein activity through microRNAs could provide the means to treat a wide range of human diseases. In addition, microRNAs have been shown to have different expression levels in certain diseased versus normal tissues. As a result, these differences potentially provide for a novel diagnostic strategy for many diseases. MicroRNAs are thought to play a key role in the differentiation of cells into specific cell types performing various functions in the body.